Yes, spring weather is coming to us slowly and while there are days when I wonder if I’ll ever be able to break out my tank tops, one thing is for sure — spring produce is here. The cycle is starting. We can start eating locally, even if it’s minimal at first.
Saturday I took a spin around the Mill City Farmers Market on opening day and it was just as I expected. Some produce like spinach, baby greens and asparagus were sold out in the first few hours but there were plenty of starter plants, seeds, onions, cheese and treats available for the later arrivals. It felt good to be at the market again and I wasn’t the only one excited about market season as the place was quite busy, buzzing with fellow shoppers enjoying moments of sun, sips of coffee and chats with local purveyors.
In the early spring, I’m usually looking for the first arrivals of ramps and morels and found ramps at the Prairie Hollow Farm booth along with a variety of nettles, fiddlehead ferns and mustard greens. Each year, I make the same inaugural spring dish with ramps: cheesy ramp bread using a baguette (or ciabatta), ramps and brie cheese. I’ve also sautéed ramps with asparagus and lentils, added them to pasta dishes and made a killer batch of ramp salt.
This year, I opted for a slight variation on my original bread dish, this time sautéing a bunch of chopped ramps with a thinly sliced green apple before topping with brie and broiling for a minute or two. Add a dusting of sea salt, a drizzle of truffle oil and you’re set.
If you can’t wait until the weekend, I also saw ramps at The Wedge and I’ve heard they are also at Mississippi Market. Call ahead to be sure of availability and act quickly — the season will be over before we know it.