|If foraging for ramps, make sure you're not|
mistaking day lilies for the real deal.
Photo: Courtesy of Kerry Heffernan
Ramp season is upon us and we’re off. Every other foodie in New York will race to their local greenmarket in search of these tender, yet pungent, harbingers of Spring. In fact, the interest is so intense that the only comparable event that comes to mind is to the running of the Bulls in Pamplona. They attract that kind of crowd. Fortunately, the only real danger you’ll encounter is the distinct possibly that you’ll be run over by a ramp-crazed Chef at the Union Square Greenmarket. What’s all the excitement about? Well, after the kind of winter we’ve had in the East, the mere sight of these woodland wild leeks, with their bright green leaves, is more than welcome. And the fact that this year the asparagus is late rising from its beds only makes the leeks even more appealing. There are said to be people who view the ramp as a mere “meh” on the menu. And then there are those who haven’t a clue what a ramp is. Not that that’s all that surprising. They may be wild in the East and the South but they don’t even exist west of the Dakotas. But they do grow here and picking your own may be an option. But be careful. My friend Kerry Heffernan mistook the day lilies growing near his house in Sag Harbor for ramps. As you can see from his photo, it’s not a hard mistake to make. Since I am not the forager that Kerry is, dutifully, I went to Union Square solely for the purpose of buying the first ramps of the season. And then I was faced with what to do with them once I got home.