I grew up in California at a time when our fruits and veggies had actual “seasons.” Asparagus season came and went way too fast, so we savored every flavorful spear. Artichokes were quick drop-ins as well, and boy, did we love artichokes. But they were only here in spring, as I recall. They weren’t flown in from a thousand miles or more so people could have them year round. They were genuine treats. And because they were so special, so quickly gone for another year, we made the most of the time we had them. Scarcity does that to you.
There’s something about limited supplies that gets people’s attention. Burger chains trot out once-a-year limited items and so do coffee chains. Wine fanciers wait all year for the magic moment when the new Beaujolais nouveau is released: 12:01 am on the third Thursday in November. It’s like a mini gold rush to snag one of the scarce bottles.
What I’m leading up to is…IT’S RAMPS SEASON! If you don’t know what ramps are, they’re a wild-foraged relative of a leek, and they have unique, versatile qualities that can’t be found in any other vegetable. In recent years, top chefs across North America have made ramps season a cause for culinary flights of fancy. The season is short and just starting. If you’re curious and don’t want to miss it, check out ramps festivals big and small that are happening all over the Appalachian states, and from Georgia to Ontario, Canada, and west to Tennessee and even Oregon. Check out farmers’ markets too. If you don’t live near where they grow, you can find fresh ramps online: www.earthy.com will ship them to you. So will www.oregonmushrooms.com and others.
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