Mark Your Calendar for May 16th
Ashe County and the surrounding mountains have rich soil that grows some of the most delicious ramps in the region.
Neighboring Ashe County, Virginia’s Whitetop Mountain Ramp Festival, sponsored by Mount Rogers Fire Department, celebrates the end of ramp harvesting season with unique ramp delicacies. Each year the festival features a BBQ chicken dinner, Appalachian Arts & Crafts, and Old-Time Mountain Bluegrass music and dancing, and much more.
The small community of Whitetop, located in Grayson County, VA, is a short and scenic drive from the West Jefferson area. The Whitetop Mountain Ramp Festival is a great outing for the full family with activities for all ages and tastes (even if you do not care for the unique ramp taste).
The 2021 edition of the Whitetop Mountain Ramp Festival is on May 16th and lasts all day. Come out to enjoy delicious Appalachian cuisine and beautiful views of Mount Rogers and the surrounding area. The festival is located at 511 Firehouse Road, Whitetop, VA 24292.
Ramps in the Appalachian Mountains
Ramps (Allium tricoccum) grow in the Appalachian Mountain and eastern North America. They are easily recognized by their broad leaves that are typically around 1-3 inches wide and 4-12 inches long. Depending on elevation, ramps are best harvested from late March through the middle of May. Ramps are commonly found on cooler, north-facing slopes under dense deciduous forests. The plant is valued by foragers and foodies for its uniquely strong onion-garlic flavor. Ramps can have either red or white stems, but the plants with red stems tend to have an especially pungent flavor.
Just for fun try our delicious recipe for “Ramp Gravy”.
It is a combination of white sauce and southern gravy to eat on crust buttermilk biscuits, over mashed potatoes or chicken-fried steak.
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 6 ramps finely chopped.
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 2 cups light cream (heavy cream, half and half, or milk.
- 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper.
- 1 ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
- Melt butter on low heat, add ramps, and cook stirring frequently. The ramps should soften in 3-4 minutes. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly with a whisk until the mixture is slightly browned.
- Turn heat to medium and while stirring, slowly pour in cream or milk. Add salt and black pepper. Reduce heat and simmer, whisking often, until thickened.
The festival will be an all-day event May 16, 2021 – 511 Fire House Road, Whitetop, Virginia