As the cold melts away, one of the first signs of spring in the forests at Foxhollow Farm are ramps, a delicious wild leek that pops up in the woodlands of Kentucky in early spring. You will spot these wild edibles’ tulip-like leafy greens growing in patches in shaded areas of the woods. Ramps are a nutritious allium high in vitamin A, C, and K. They are also high in iron and filled with beneficial minerals which protect your heart and support a healthy immune system.
What makes ramps so special? A few things. One, ramps have a fresh flavor that is a distinctive mix of garlic and onion. Two, all parts of the ramp are edible, from the white bulbs to the purplish pink stems to the green leaves. Three, they’re scarce! They’re a wild species that grows slowly and is only in season a few weeks a year.
Because of this scarcity, we highly prize the wild ramps that grow at Foxhollow Farm and only harvest them sustainably. If you are lucky enough to find some in your neck of the woods, be sure to only take no more than 1/8 of the bulbs in the patch to avoid over harvesting. You can cut the leaves and stems above ground for a more sustainable harvesting method. Either way, you’ll be able to make a variety of recipes.
The pungent bulbs are similar to garlic in shape and application; a little goes a long way. The spicy leaves make delicious pestos and add an extra punch to sautéed greens and stir fried dishes. We have a recipe for ramp pesto (below) that we love spread on a 100% grassfed beef burger, fresh off the grill.
Want to get your hands on some ramps? Foxhollow Farm will be offering ramps by the pound in limited quantities. Call 502-241-9674 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
1 Bunch of Ramp Leaves (about 2 cups roughly chopped)
3 Ramp Bulbs, quartered
1 Handful Fresh Spinach (about 1 cup)
2 tablespoons Lemon Juice
1/4 cup Toasted Pine Nuts
1/2 cup Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese
1 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Black Pepper
1 Pinch Foxhollow Farm Crushed Red Pepper
1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Place all the above ingredients, excluding the olive oil, into a food processor. Pulse a couple times to start mixing, then turn on medium speed and slowly pour in the olive oil. Once all the olive oil is poured in continue to mix until it is a smooth consistency.
Enjoy as a spread with your 100% grassfed beef burger!