Ramp Hunting

So Spring is finally here.  In Mid-Mitten fashion the weather has been great one day and pissing rain the next (literally).   I haven’t been able to get outside and walk much which is a little depressing.  But today I got a chance and low and behold Michigan cooperated with an incredible day.  Yesterday I was driving near campus and came across a section of the Riverwalk that was lit up with green.  The green seemed so bright against the brown, lack luster, no foliage forest that I knew exactly what that meant.  RAMPS were out!!!! 

Some call them wild garlic, wild onions or the “real” spring onion.  I don’t care what you call them; I just want to forage for them.  I’m thinking ramp leaf pesto, ramp leaf compound butter, pickled ramps, cooked ramps, and anything else I can use them in. 

This is what we’re looking for.

This is what we’re looking for.

I will have a beginner, intermediate and advanced ramp hunting trip. 

So I got a great idea.  I know what they look like and I know how to harvest them so why don’t I teach others the foraging lifestyle?  So on my Mid-Michigan Food Club website I will be posting three events. 

The beginning event will be for those that might not have any experience with the woods and don’t have the correct clothes, tools or stamina for hard-core foraging.  I want these people to see ramps, experience Michigan’s nature and go home with an (almost) 100% guarantee of a small bunch of ramps.  At this location all you have to do is pull your car to the side of the road, get out and with a hand towel grab 5-10 ramps.  The trip will be short and sweet.

The next level will be intermediate.  We will walk for a while through the woods; go off trail and need boots or shoes you don’t really care about and old pants.  We will still get ramps but imagine a more off road (not by much) experience. This trip will take 30-45 minutes but we should walk back to the house with an amount of beauties that everyone will go home and have the ability to make at least two recipes.

The last event will be for people who like the woods, are willing to walk off trail, through (possible) brambles and work for their ramp collection.  This trip will be about an hour and is on a marked trail.

You don’t really need anything special for foraging in the woods.  Today while I was searching good places for the events I was wearing Crocs with no socks and a cardigan!  All three areas are VERY local and all you really need for tools are a dollar store gardening hand trowel, a small basket or bag to carry your ramp stash and gloves.  Oh yeah you should be able to identify poison ivy so you don’t dig near any. 

Other than that you are set.  Of course you can get really crazy with your high-end foraging bag, your special knife and trowel but really???? Come on!!!  The best part of foraging is that you already have what you need and you are going to harvest something you can eat for FREE!  Why spend the money?

In addition to bringing food home you also get exercise, sunlight and maybe a gander of the local Spring-time flowers.  I even saw the beginnings of a couple of Trilliums today.  So if you are a member of the food club think about joining me for one of the hunts.  If I have a lot of interest I will think about repeating the events too. 

I just want people to be able to go outside and enjoy the beautiful nature that we have to offer in the Mitten state.  The free food is an excuse and a bonus!