Springtime in our mountains sparks a veritable riot of color. You can’t help but notice the striking light greens of the forest, accented by the flowering trees and bushes that seem to pop up everywhere. Underneath the vibrant forest canopy, millions of regional plants spring up from the ground, responding to the warmer weather and great seasonal growing conditions.
One notable plant species has earned its own dedicated group of fans over the years. Yes, we’re talking about quirky little ramps. In fact, this unusual member of the onion/garlic family has even given rise to several regional festivals, including one in Murphy, NC. Read more about this upcoming gathering, and find resources for cultivating ramps on your property this season.
Murphy’s 10th Annual Ramp Festival
Late April is the perfect time for a ramp festival, as these funky little vegetables are smack in the middle of their harvest season. On Saturday, April 27 from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., the 10th Annual Ramp Festival will kick off at the L&N Depot in downtown Murphy, North Carolina. You’ll enjoy a plate of ramps and fixins’ for $8, with $4 plates for children under 12.
This popular annual event is sponsored by the Cherokee Masonic Lodge #146. All proceeds benefit the Masonic Home for Children in Oxford, North Carolina. So, come on down for a lunch you’ll remember for years, and support a good cause while you enjoy your meal.
Snapshot of Ramps’ Colorful History
Ramps have quite a following in the Appalachian Mountains. Folklore tells us that when ramps burst from the ground in early spring, the settlers knew the often-brutal winter was finally over. And as an added bonus, ramps’ vitamin content helped residents recover from colds and physical issues that resulted from a winter without fresh vegetables.
In the vegetable world, ramps fall within the wild leek family, and are something of an onion/garlic combo. The ramp’s bulb actually resembles a scallion. If you’re something of an adventurous diner, you’ll be happy to learn that you can safely eat the plant’s leaves and bulb leaves. And just be aware: pungent ramps are one of those vegetables that you’ll either love — or not.
Getting Some Ramps for Yourself
If you live in the mountains around Murphy, NC, and you’d like to find some ramps for yourself, you’re in luck. Ramps thrive in dark, moist sections of our area’s forest; and early spring marks the plants’ harvest season. Don’t dig them up without local knowledge, however, as you might mistake a ramp for an inedible (and possibly toxic) plant.
Maybe you’d like to grow some ramps on your own property. For books on cultivating ramps, plus a list of regional seed and bulb suppliers, browse this extremely helpful resource from the North Carolina State Extension Service:
https://newcropsorganics.ces.ncsu.edu/specialty-crops/ramps/. And if you’re planning to visit the Ramp Festival, get your appetite ready for a very adventurous lunch.
The Poltrock Team – REMAX Mountain Properties – Murphy NC – www.ILoveMurphy.com – Call us Toll Free at 1-866-Murphy-NC or 1-866-687-7496 – Murphy’s #1 Real Estate Team