Nothing says spring quite like the arrival of ramps in the mountain highlands region of West Virginia.
The ramp, a wild onion native to the Eastern United States and Canada, is known for its garlicky, pungent smell and early Spring appearance. Its unique flavor has made this foraged vegetable a staple ingredient in West Virginia kitchens and has inspired Appalachian cuisine for decades. Many West Virginia towns and cities celebrate the arrival of spring and ramps with community suppers, festivals, and events.
In Elkins, West Virginia, the Elkins Depot Welcome Center is thrilled to put Covid behind them to kick off their 12th annual Ramps & Rail Festival, after a two-year reprieve.
The date for the festival is April 23, 2022
The day begins at 10 am, with hour-long train rides by the Durbin & Greenbrier Valley Railroad. Live music will keep bustling festival-goers entertained while they enjoy visiting with Appalachian crafters and sampling festival food.
And when I say food vendors, I mean dozens of vendors with pungent and delicious ramp-filled offerings that you’ll be dying to sample.
Some local favorites include:
Elkins Kiwanis – A delicious and juicy burger packed with minced ramps and topped with cheese. These burgers are always a crowd-pleaser and typically sell out before the day is done.
El Gran Sabor – Nothing says Ramp Festival like El Gran Sabor’s ramp-filled cachapa, a sweet corn pancake stuffed with your choice of pork or chicken, ramps, veggies, and shredded cheese.
Beanders – Their award-winning Ramp Dip consists of a black bean, corn, and ramp salsa served with nachos, or enjoy a Hillbilly Philly, a ramp-inspired Philly Cheese Steak that will satisfy your ramp cravings.
In past years, other honorable mentions are ramp sausage gravy and biscuits, ramp skillet potatoes, ramp stuffed perogies, ramp topped pizza, and more.
The competition for best food vendor attracts locals and out-of-towners alike to go all out for the day, some of them keeping their menu options a secret from competitors.
So whether it’s your first time trying ramps, or you’re a seasoned connoisseur of this trendy wild onion, make plans to visit Elkins as a rite of Spring!
Mark your calendars for Saturday, April 23rd and prepare yourself for a fun day in the heart of downtown Elkins, with the wafting scent of ramps in the air.
See you there!
Article Credit // Samantha Peet resides in Elkins, West Virginia and has a passion for travel and a fondness for Appalachia. She’s lived among the rolling hills of Cumberland Valley in Pennsylvania; within the rural fields of Massachusetts; an artsy, vibrant town in upstate New York; ventured along many a New England village. She’s still exploring – finding new views, food, and stories to share – check out her page @findnewviews