Monday, April 16, 2012

Ramp fever

I committed blasphemy on the foraging Facebook page to which I belong. I said it out loud: I prefer field garlic to ramps. I choose Allium vineale over Allium tricoccum.

Thundering silence. I may be shunned. 

Even Euell Gibbons, the father of American foraging (in print, that is), despised field garlic. He said it stinks. I think it smells good.

I like ramps, and I like their green spring fling. I'm not rejecting them. But they are a pale cousin of the fragrant field garlic. Once cooked a ramp is an unassertive bite. Its leaves are very good, just crisped over the coals (above). But field garlic's bulb turns deeper, sweeter.

Also, it's still free. Ramps appear at farmers markets and high end gourmet stores for about $15 a pound. It's a once a year bonanza and a foodie legend has grown up around it. It's the mainstream foraged plant that most people know, whereas field garlic is still a weed popping up everywhere, ubiquitous, ignored, delicious. 

If field garlic were to be tied in a bundle with an $8 price tag attached to it, it would be the new hit of the season.

How to hide a ramp. Put it under four lamb shoulder chops.


  1. And ramps the native and vineale the weed. A Gardener asked what that was in the garden. Oh, I said that is the weed garlic from the fields. He stood in silence. As he moved on he said that I'm always trying to get rid of!

    I prefer the leaves of ramps and the bulb of the weed.

  2. Funny that. As we were slaving away in the heated garden yesterday, weeding and weeding,one of us would straighten up with a handful of oh say field garlic and say Marie would love this.

    Always thinking of you:-)

    xo j.

  3. Frank - yus.

    Jane :-) Thank you! Even funnier, when I was weeding my little garden in Alexandria VA I would pull up clumps of then unknown-to-me ramps and say, What IS this stupid stuff, before tossing it over my shoulder.

  4. If you want to endear yourself further to your foraging friends, point them to the side article on wild ramps here:


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