My hairdresser’s boyfriend owns Krust in Middletown, Connecticut and he foragers for ramps this time of year in the woods behind his condo complex. His restaurant cuts up the wild leeks, sautés and adds them on a crostini with goat cheese.
If this spicy delicacy is growing in the woods of Connecticut, then maybe the woods behind my house has a, green, fresh and ready to harvest bunch.
The woods abutting our property are owned by our neighbors. If you trespass and hike beyond their vineyard, always being careful to duck behind trees you will eventually enter a 75 acre state park.
My son Shawn and I decided to take a hike with a little shovel, pail and some waters, eager to discover an edible find.
As we made our way down the incline of the woods we saw the small pond we fished at last summer with its beaver dam floating at the edge. Shawn kept active jumping off of protruding rocks, hurtling over fallen trees and trunks, and pretending to be Channing Tatum from White House Down.
The last time we trudged through the forest it was winter and we were on snow shoes. The snow is now mud and pools of water and little pine saplings are poking through the brown leaves.
I did do a bit of research prior to our ramp rummaging including this video from the Mushroom Hunter. According to Ohio’s Don King, ramps and morels grow facing south and are ready to harvest in late April. I also read that they can be found near streams or brooks and are always in a cluster.
Shawn and I did come across our favorite forest oddity, a 1930s, rusted relic of a car. Shawn likes to speculate on what happened.
“I think there was a big car crash and the car exploded and this is what remains.”
The remains of two chimneys and dilapidated cabins are part of the forest’s landscape as well. What must have been summer vacation spots for city folk from Hartford or New York City is now camouflaged with leaves and twigs. We passed towering rock walls with cave like openings the perfect size for a coyote den and tangled branches hanging like a rope swing which is exactly how Shawn used it.
Swamp cabbage is plentiful this time of year and grew like weeds beside the nearly overflowing brook. The streams roll over mossy stones, eventually passing rows of blueberry bushes.
No ramps were discovered on our hike through the woods. However, we did trap plenty of beauty, the sprouting of spring, the squelching of winter and the prospect of many new beginnings in store for the warmer seasons.