Eating seasonally with 12 spring foodsPublished 5:20pm Monday, April 30, 2012
Over these years, we’ve grown a library of local availability information: seasonal ingredients with refreshingly simple recipes that include these 12 local mainstays: ramps, broccoli, strawberries, asparagus, cabbage, sugar snap and snow peas, bibb lettuce, mache, mesclun, arugula and early spring greens like chard, collards and kale. You will find these items now in our local farmers markets and farm groceries, as well as through direct farm sales by visiting www.polkcountyfarms.org. It’s expected for the next two weeks, that you can find your bait of fresh mountain ramps at the PolkFresh Tradepost in the Mill Spring Ag Center.
Ramps are a member of the Allium genus, the lily family, like wild leeks and wild garlic. Referred to as “Easter onions,” they are a welcome sign of spring from March-May, found on walks up hollers and valleys above 3,000 feet, gathered from wild patches with a very small harvest window. You can braise them, pickle them or grill them. Keep the lily leaf and bulb in-tact. Wash them thoroughly, to remove all sand, coat in a quality cooking oil and kosher salt and char-grill in swirled nests for munching straight up or accompanying a local grass-fed steak or arugula, parmesan and pasta dish.
By purchasing local foods in-season, you eliminate the environmental damage caused by shipping foods thousands of miles, your food dollar goes directly to the farmer and your family will be able to enjoy the health benefits of eating fresh, unprocessed fruits and vegetables. And they simply taste better.
- written by Carol Lynn Jackson