Also known as wild leeks, ramps—along with shallots, onions, garlic and their doppelganger, the scallion—belong to the allium family. Don’t confuse these little leafy bulbs for any of their more common cousins, though: Their robust flavor is distinct from the rest. Despite their dainty size, the white bulb, purple-tinged stem and dark green leaves of ramps all boast a pungent, garlicky profile that makes a much bigger impression than the subdued, onion-y flavor of both scallions and leeks. In fact, ramps are known to make culinary magic happen when featured in just about anything, from scrambled eggs to silky soups (more on that later).
What makes them so sought after, beyond their flavor, is their scarcity: Ramps can only be found in the mountains, where they run rampant (sorry) in April and May. After that, you’re out of luck—ramps have a habit of disappearing as suddenly as they sprout, which explains why they’re in such high demand during their short peak season.
Where can I buy them?
Good news: You don’t need to plan a mountain retreat to score some ramps this spring. This sought-after veg is the sweetheart of farm stands—so depending on where you live, there’s a good chance you can snag some at your local farmer’s market. If that doesn’t pan out, you can always check online, since seasoned foragers have taken to platforms like Etsy to sell this coveted springtime treasure. Whole Foods sells ramps as well—just keep in mind that you may need to check back often, because they tend to sell out fast.