Farmers Market magic 1: wild leeks (aka ramps)

It is that time of year! The snow (dare I say such a bad word) is gone and, thanks to incessant rainfall, everything is green and full of color. In other words, spring has finally sprung.

I went to the first farmers market of the year here on Grand Island. It was held on Memorial Day in the evening. I went there looking for rhubarb, but it had already been sold. Instead, I bought a cherry tomato plant, which got a name (Sherry the Cherry) and two batches of wild leeks. They are also known as ramps.

Ramps are a member of the same family as onions and garlic. Their taste is somewhere between those two magnificent root vegetables. Their botanical name is allium triocuum.

In addition to being related to onions, garlic, scallions, and leeks, they are also related to the flower that is called allium. I have a few of those flowers in my garden. They have big purple bulbs with multiple flowerets and they are very tall.

So… ramps. Their season is very short. You only have a short amount of time to enjoy ramps. Therefore, I have become a fan of ramps in a variety of foods.

Here are some of the foods that I prepared with ramps as an ingredient:

  • hummus. Instead of garlic, I added a few ramps.
  • pasta with shrimp, yellow squash, mushrooms, and ramps.
  • omelette with mushrooms and ramps.
  • cream of mushroom soup, with ramps replacing the onion.
  • sliced chicken breast with ramps and mushrooms with a butter-lemon-white wine sauce.
And with that, I managed to polish off the ramps. I have leftovers for tomorrow.

In a week or so, I’m going to visit the farmers market in downtown Buffalo! Stay tuned for more farmers market magic!

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