Celebrating the spring stink
By Dawn Nolan, Marketing & Program Coordinator
This originally ran in the Charleston Gazette-Mail newspaper on 4/10.
You can smell them from a mile away — OK, that might be a bit of an exaggeration — but when it’s ramp season in West Virginia, you definitely know.
The ramp, a species of wild onion known as Allium tricoccum, are a culinary delicacy and a springtime staple (often referred to as the season’s first greens), despite their infamously “funky” odor.
At The Wild Ramp customers begin asking about our ramp supply very early, even though the plant has a notoriously short growing season of about a month. And when we get our first batch in, they sell out immediately.
It’s an exciting time of year. Add in the fact that these greens are our namesake, and you’d think we’d do something to celebrate. That something? Our annual Stinkfest!
The Wild Ramp has been holding Stinkfest, a community event, since 2015 (the year after we moved to our current location in Huntington’s Central City). While it has had to be modified the last couple of years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the enthusiasm and purpose has not waned.
This year’s Stinkfest will be held on Saturday, April 30, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in front of and behind our market (555 14th Street W, Huntington). As with every event we hold, we see an opportunity to promote our producers and artisans along with our bigger nonprofit mission of growing and supporting the local food economy.
Now, I bet you’re wondering what exactly we have planned for this little shindig, huh?
Well, first, everyone’s favorite topic: food.
The Wild Ramp Harvest Kitchen will be serving up a country style dinner of ham, potatoes with ramps, coleslaw from Down Home Salads, pinto beans from Shagbark Seed & Mill and cornbread.
For dessert, there will ramp ice cream, called Breakfast RAMPage. Yes, I said RAMP ICE CREAM — made with ramps, of course; Durbin Farm sorghum; Snowville Creamery heavy cream and Arbaugh Farm bloody butcher grits.
Then, inside the market we’ll have our signature ramp focaccia, along with ramp and potato soup and ramp pesto (see recipes at the end of this column for the soup and pesto) and probably even a few other items.
Oh, and if that isn’t enough ramps, one of our producers, Lisa’s Jars of Love will be making a twist on her pepperoni rolls — ramperoni rolls! Because what could make pepperoni rolls better than some ramps?
There will also be food trucks and other snack vendors for those that might be more ramp-averse.
Most of the food from the Harvest Kitchen and the trucks will be served from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. (or until sold out).
We can’t forget our artisans — more than 20 — and musical entertainment, either. Our scheduled lineup includes Huntington rockers Of the Dell headlining along with performances by Corduroy Brown, Ally Fletcher, Maggie Moore & The Farmcats and Carter Miller.
Got all of that? Great! But, if not, A complete list of vendors and a schedule can be found on our website: https://wildramp.org/upcoming-events/stinkfest-2022 or social media: @wildramp.
We hope to see you on April 30!
Ramp and Potato Soup
Yields 6-8 servings
- 5 oz. Hardwood Smoked Bacon (diced)
- 5 oz. Ramps (cleaned, chopped)
- 1 oz. Butter
- 2 lb. Potatoes (peeled and diced)
- 1 tbsp. Chives (diced)
- 2 oz. All Purpose Flour
- 18 oz. Chicken Stock
- 5 oz. Water
- 18 oz. Heavy Cream
- Salt (to taste)
- Pepper (to taste)
Render bacon in a heavy stock pot.
Add butter and ramps. Let the ramps sweat until translucent.
Add potatoes and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring constantly (though gently, so as not to destroy the potatoes). Add flour and stir until potatoes are coated.
Add chives, chicken stock and water. Bring to 180 degrees, stirring constantly so nothing sticks.
Add heavy cream and salt. Bring down to a simmer and cook until potatoes are soft.
- 1 cup Pecans
- 16 oz Ramp Greens
- 1/2 cup Parmesan
- 1/2 tsp Lemon Juice
- 1/2 cup Olive Oil
- 1/2 tsp Salt
Mix all ingredients in a food processor
Store in a container with a touch of olive oil on the top. Or freeze for use up to 6 months later.