Saturday, April 4, 2009

Got Ramps?

Today was an extremely exciting day for me. My husband and I had just gotten off of Exit 132 on I-79, otherwise known as the South Fairmont exit. We were traveling 250 North when suddenly, just before Muriale’s restaurant, a sign with the handwritten word RAMPS appeared. “Stop the car,” I shouted, like a woman possessed. He looked at me, confused. “Ramps,” I said. “They are selling ramps!!!”

Rewind a few months to a meeting with WV Living magazine editor and publisher, Nikki Bowman. We were discussing the editorial calendar for our Spring issue when she assigned me a story on ramps. “On what?” I had absolutely no idea what a ramp was, somewhere in my mind I was wondering how skateboarding had anything to do with West Virginia culture.

Check out my travel story on ramps in the heritage section of WV Living’s spring issue,  you’ll see that this appalachia newcomer became very well acquainted with the highly celebrated delicacy. Of course, since the story was written in the winter months, I had yet to have the opportunity to taste what these little stinkers were all about. So today, I brought home my treasure and got to work cleaning them.   Which by the way is no easy task. Once they were all nice and clean it was time to put my kitchen prowess to the test! I have to admit that I wasn't brave enough to eat the ramp as a main ingredient, so I decided to prepare them the way that had been most commonly suggested from the native West Virginian's I interviewed while writing the story; fried with a little bit of bacon and potatoes. Let me tell you, after my first bite, West Virginia owns a bigger piece of my heart.

Ramp Fried Potatoes

  • 3/4 cup ramps, coursley chopped
  • 3 slices bacon, coarsely chopped
  • 3 large boiled potatoes, chopped into bite sized chunks

  • over medium heat, cook bacon until the fat begins to render
  • add ramps and cook over medium heat for approximately 2-3 minutes
  • add potatoes and cook until golden brown
  • salt and pepper to taste

    Tell us your favorite ramp recipe by posting a comment to WV Food or by emailing me at


  1. The Helvetia Farm Women clean and prepare more than 50 bushels of ramps starting tomorrow morning at 8:30. We prepare them for our annual Helvetia Ramp supper. We have the best cooks in the state! At my home today, my parents, two dear friends, Joseph Tucker, Benjamin Gain and I cleaned and put three bushels in the freezer. Benjamin Gain is the best cook we know and many crowd around my home when he is cooking -- mostly local farm fresh foods. Come visit! Benjamin and Johseph will both be cooking for our annnual ramp supper.

  2. I had ramps and fried potatoes at Tamarack a few days ago... fantastic!

  3. There are no ramps here. So are scallons a good replacement?

  4. That's a great question. Yes, you can replace the ramps with scallions in this recipe.

    All the best,