Ramps, also known as wild leeks, are a wild onion species and one of the first spring ephemerals in the Wolf Ridge woods. Spring ephemerals are ground plants that sprout after the snow melts but before the trees leaf out, taking advantage of the increased sunlight hitting the forest floor. Ramps are more commonly associated with Appalachia, but are found throughout the Midwest and Canada as well. Their unique garlicky onion taste and pungent odor make them popular among foragers and restauranteurs alike.
When harvesting ramps, ensuring they will return next year is critical. A good rule of thumb is to take only one plant for every ten you see. Wait to harvest until the leaves are about 6-8 inches long, but now is a great time to go out searching so you can come back to harvest in a few weeks!
Check out this recipe for Ramp Pesto from cooking blog “Hunter, Angler, Gardener, Cook.”
by Alicia Little, Sam Anderson, and Allison Hren