Our month of May gleams with renewal. Fluorescent green continues to sprout from rich, dark earth after a restful winter and chilly spring. Flowers blossom little and large, brilliant and aromatic to seduce pollinating insects—an ingenious strategy to enhance a future for all of us. What a spectacle. Do you ever marvel at Nature’s seasonal cycles of soughing off the old for the new to emerge? I’ve witnessed this spring rebirth 64 times, and continue to be delighted with surprises brand new to my awareness.
This year’s “Ah haaaahh” dawned as I was wandering towards the creek in my forest’s valley. I spotted a flourishing wild ramps plant that I had transplanted last spring from a friend’s farm near Kennett, where ramps densely cover half an acre of moist greenery at the edge of a forest. Ramps leaves are six to eight inches long, about as wide as a tulip’s, only softer. They spring* from an underground bulb the size and color of a scallion bulb. (*Did you spot this pun, dear reader?) These bulbs simmered in chicken or vegetable stock make a gourmet soup delicately flavored with whispering onion-y sweetness. A ramps quiche is heavenly. The leaves can be steamed like spinach and have an even more delicate flavor than the bulbs. Many folks who don’t like onions love ramps. James Michener’s local saga, Chesapeake, cites them as valued native fare for local tribes and early colonists. The term “ramps” is the same in both singular and plural usage.
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