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I Go Ramping

Welcome to My Green Vermont - A Blog by Eulalia Benejam Cobb.
By Eulalia Benejam Cobb

Went into the woods yesterday, looking for ramps.  This spring has been so slow and weird that I had no idea whether the ramps would be up or not. 

Although the fields in Vermont are green now, the woods are still brown and bare.  Walking on last fall\’s carpet of leaves, I saw that only an occasional fern had poked through.  But then I went over a rise, looked to my left, and there it was, a whole regiment of ramps. 

That sudden sea of green in the midst of the dead brownness made me catch my breath.  I found a big fallen tree to serve as landmark–I\’ve gotten lost in our woods before, so now I\’m cautious when I walk off the path–and crunched my way to the ramps. Close up, ramps have that same  determined, optimistic look as other members of the lily family:  garlic, daffodils, hyacinths and amaryllis.  And they need a lot of optimism and determination, coming as they do before spring fully settles in.

I thrust my trowel into the wet ground and was immediately rewarded with a cloud of oniony-garlicky scent.  That lovely smell kept me going through the digging–as small as the bulbs are, they cling hard to the ground and aren\’t easy to pull up.  When the basket was half full, I called the dogs and headed home.

Tonight I will chop up the ramps, saute them in olive oil, and mix them into scrambled eggs.  And in the next few days I\’ll harvest more, and chop and saute and then freeze them for next winter, which I have never tried before.  But I\’ll have to hurry.  You never know with ramps–one day they\’re here and the next they\’ve vanished.  Just like spring. 

(So sorry, everyone, to have had to turn word verification back on, but I was spending more time dealing with spam than writing posts.)

7 Responses

  1. I didn't know what ramps were at first, but I think they grow here as well and I know the spot where they do. Unfortunately, it is forbidden to dig up any plants there or to take out anything of nature at all. Everything is so very well protected here and it is a small country without many really free natural areas to do in as you wish. You can only look and admire.

  2. I have wondered if something like ramps grows in Europe. There is a wild onion that comes up in Catalonia in the spring called calcots (with a cedilla on the second c) that must be something like ramps. I imagine that some kind of wild onion, being of the same family as the tulip, probably does really well in Holland.

  3. I live in the very south-east of Holland and many plants grow here that do not grow in the rest of the country because of the climate and the soil, even a little orchid. There are always lots of surprises to be found in nature.

  4. I didn't know what they were before we moved to Vermont. But I know they have them in WV, so they must grow in Maryland too. They're easy to identify, mostly because they are the first thing that comes up when the woods are still barren.

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