Ramps: A Sustainable Harvest

Ramp season is nearly upon us here in the Appalachian Mountains. These delicious wild leeks are becoming increasingly popular among chefs and home cooks throughout the country, but many people do not know how to properly harvest them. The Appalachian Food Storybank and the Smoky Mountain Native Plants Association have partnered to create a video that shows potential foragers how to sustainably harvest ramps so that the plant will continue to grow in following seasons. We hope that you or your organization will help us promote this video, “Ramps: A Sustainable Harvest,” by sharing it on your website, blog, or social media platforms. If you know of any other parties that might be interested in helping us promote the video, please feel free to forward it to them as well.  The embedded link will take viewers to the Appalachian Food Storybank’s website where they can view the video.


Poached Farm Egg with Ramp & Chevre Grits & Benton’s Country Ham “Cracklins”

Recipe submitted by Chef William Dissen of The MarketPlace

(Yield: 4 servings)


Ramp & Chevre Grits Anson Mills Coarse Yellow Grits                                        1 cup

Water                                                                                 3 ¼ cups

Olive oil                                                                             2 tbsp.

Onion, finely chopped                                                      2 tbsp.

Garlic, minced                                                                   1 tsp.

Heavy Cream                                                                     ¾ cup

Chevre                                                                              4 tbsp.

Franks’s Red Hot Sauce                                                     1 tbsp.

Ramps, bulb trimmed, grilled, roughly chopped                 10 ea.

Salt & Pepper                                                                     to taste

Poached Farm Egg                                                             4 ea. (see recipe)

Benton’s Country Ham “Cracklins”                                    4 tbsp. (see recipe)


  1. In a medium pot, heat the olive oil over medium high heat and stir in the onion and garlic and cook until translucent.
  2. Add the water and bring to a rapid boil. Rapidly whisk in the grits and stir continuously until the grits are combined with the water and the grits begin to bubble.
  3. Turn off the heat and cover the pot with plastic wrap. Keep in a warm place for 1 hour.
  4. While the grits are resting, bring a grill to medium high heat. Lightly oil the ramps and season with salt and pepper. Place on the grill until they are lightly charred and the bulbs are tender – about 2 minutes. Remove the ramps from the grill and allow to cool. Cut them roughly and reserve to finish the grits.
  5. Unwrap the pot and place over medium heat to heat back through. Stir in the heavy cream, chevre, Frank’s Red Hot. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Stir in the chopped ramps and serve immediately.
  6. To finish, place the grits into a ramekin and place a poached egg on top of the grits. Season the egg with salt & pepper. Sprinkle 1 tbsp. of the “cracklins” over the egg. Serve immediately.