Ramps season has begun! They've been all the rage in the press for the past five or ten years, so if you don't know what ramps are, you must have a powerful immunity to the food media hype machine. The green onion look-alike made its debut at Mountain Sweet Berry Farm's stand in Union Square Greenmarket today. Chris Field, who has worked at Mountain Sweet Berry Farm for two years helping to forage for ramps (they are most definitely "foraged," not "farmed," and don't dare suggest otherwise), told us: "[Ramps] really signify spring. It's the first thing you grow outside that you can eat."
The plant resemble scallions and both look and smell like green onions with a garlicky hint. You can eat everything but the roots, though the green leaves become less tender over the course of the season. Field suggested to a customer new to ramps that a simple way to prepare them would be: "clean them, butter, sautee, pasta, whatever." So it's not exactly Julia Child, but his quick recipe does make ramps sound a whole lot less dauntingly different. (Check out Gothamist's ramps recipes.)
And oh man does the growing season for ramps go fast—by mid-to-late May all the ramps will be gone. Come early in the morning Wednesday or Saturday to snag a few bunches from one of the produce tables.