It’s hard to believe that the East Coast’s brutal winter of 2014/15 is actually over and the spring wild harvest season has already begun.
The West Coast had a relatively mild winter, which kick-started the season with an early harvest of orchard morels, miner’s lettuce, stinging nettles, chickweed and other spring delicacies. We’ve already been enjoying fresh morels from California, Oregon and Washington for several weeks and are looking forward to Midwestern morels in a few weeks.
But the big news of the moment are RAMPS! The first, tiny “early” ramps of the year have been rolling into the Earthy Delights warehouse over the past week and ramp lovers across the country have been indulging in their passion for the pungent “King of Stink,” as ramps are affectionately known by many.
These early ramps are a little different from the ramps that appear later in the season. Their tender, delicate leaves are still mostly furled and the bulbs are slender, almost like a small scallion. But as small as they are, their flavor is BIG! Many ramp aficionados swear that the early ramps are the most potent, the strongest, hottest and the best of the season.
True or not? You decide. It’s only during this very brief season – as short as two or three weeks of the year – that we can indulge ourselves in the rustic delicacy that has been called “the Tennessee truffle.”