Airdate: May 04, 2021
Scientist: Mary Hufford
Appalachian Spring - Poke and RampsDay
Springtime brings the culinary delight of wild ramps to this Appalachian community.
In the Appalachian Mountains, each season brings a different variety of wild edibles, from roots to berries. I'm Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet. Joe Aliff has lived in mountains of West Virginia all his life. His knowledge of plants has been passed down to him from his grandfather and mother. He tells us that this time of year families come together to gather nutritious plants such as ramps. "In the spring time, it was a common sight. Now folks would probably call it a sack, or a paper bag, but to us it was poke. Well, you get a poke and a knife, and every family would go to the fields, and the woods, and gather pokes full of these wild plants - and that was your granary that you had been without through the winter, and it was very healthy. And you drink your sassafras tea or your spice wood tea, and, you know, you were putting your body back in good shape. One of the first weeds up was called a ramp, well, that's still a very big happening in this country. People come from everywhere to go to ramp dinners." The pungent smelling ramp is also known as the wild leek. It makes its seasonal appearance in patches high up in the mountains. Well, this unusual vegetable grows abundantly throughout the Appalachian South, and is served up at feasts throughout the region. To hear about our new CD, please visit pulseplanet.com. Pulse of the Planet is made possible by the National Science Foundation. I'm Jim Metzner.