Civic organizations, fire departments and other groups across the state are preparing to serve up a traditional spring delicacy.
It’s ramp season and the smelly wild leek will be the featured attraction at fundraising dinners.
But ramp dinners are no longer just an Appalachian tradition.
“Ramps are starting to show up a lot on the national level,” Division of Tourism marketing specialist Justin Gaull told the Charleston Daily Mail.
Well-known food blogs are beginning to recognize the wild leek as a culinary delight and Gaull believes ramp dinners will begin to grow throughout the state.
“Ramps and Appalachia are really becoming mainstream,” said Dale Hawkins, a classically trained culinary artist and West Virginia native. “They’re becoming fashionable.”
Hawkins grew up eating the native, edible plant in Upshur County. His family, like most families, would serve ramps with eggs or potatoes or ham.
Hawkins will be hosting a ramp fundraiser to benefit the New Appalachian Farm and Research Center, a nonprofit that educates farmers on how to compete in today’s market. The dinner will be held at the Rock Cave Civic Center at 3 p.m. on May 1.
One of the largest ramp dinners in West Virginia is Richwood’s Feast of the Ransom. Two thousand volunteers dug a ton of ramps for the dinner. About 1,500 are expected to attend this year’s dinner. It will be held from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday at Richwood Junior High School, said Vicki Mayse, with the Richwood Area Chamber of Commerce.