B12 Solipsism

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First Ramps of the Season

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Look what I got today from Harmony Valley, WI, via Freshpicks.com

First Ramps of the season
Shot with my Hipstamatic for iPhone1

Allium tricoccum — also known as the ramp, spring onion, ramson, wild leek, wild garlic, and, in French, ail sauvage and ail des bois — is an early spring vegetable with a strong garlicky odor and a pronounced onion flavor. A perennial member of the onion family (Alliaceae), the plant has broad, smooth, light green leaves, often with deep purple or burgundy tints on the lower stems, and a scallion-like stalk and bulb. Both the white lower leaf stalks and the broad green leaves are edible. The flower stalk appears after the leaves have died back, unlike the similar Allium ursinum, in which leaves and flowers can be seen at the same time. Ramps grow in groups strongly rooted just beneath the surface of the soil. They are found from the U.S. state of South Carolina to Canada. They are popular in the cuisines of the rural upland South and in the Canadian province of Quebec when they emerge in the springtime. They have a growing popularity in upscale restaurants throughout North America.

A thick growth of ramps near Lake Michigan in Illinois in the 17th century gave the city of Chicago its name, after the area was described by 17th-century explorer Robert Cavelier, sieur de La Salle, and explained by his comrade, naturalist-diarist Henri Joutel.

The plant called Chicagou in the language of native tribes was once thought to be Allium cernuum, the nodding wild onion, but research in the early 1990s showed the correct plant was the ramp. The ramp has strong associations with the folklore of the central Appalachian Mountains. Fascination and humor have fixated on the plant’s extreme pungency. Jim and Bronson Comstock founded The West Virginia Hillbilly, a weekly humor and heritage newspaper, in 1957, and ramps were a frequent topic. For one legendary issue, Jim Comstock introduced ramp juice into the printer’s ink, invoking the ire of the U.S. Postmaster General. The mountain folk of Appalachia have long celebrated spring with the arrival of the ramp, believing it to have great power as a tonic to ward off many ailments of winter. A ramp bath was featured in the film Where the Lilies Bloom (1974) about life in North Carolina.

(click here to continue reading Allium tricoccum – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.)


  1. Lens: John S, Film: Kodot XGrizzled []

Written by Seth Anderson

April 26th, 2011 at 2:51 pm

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