Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Ramps, and Local on a Budget

I said there'd be ramps, and here are some. I picked up a bunch at the local market and quenched my cravings for a good breakfast ramp dish:

Sweet potato hash w/ramp bulbs & greens,
ginger & tart apple under poached eggs

Nothing fancy recipe-wise. I let the thinly sliced ramp bulbs soften slowly in olive oil over med-lo heat, then tossed in the greens and sweet potatoes and let it all cook down slowly, adding only a bit of salt and a splash of veggie broth. I added in thinly sliced ginger and tart apple toward the end, and let it continue to cook until they were softened. I poached the eggs till the yolks were a creamy soft (I admit - I got distracted making coffee and forgot about them until they almost boiled over, but they were just about perfect). It's a very local affair - the ramps, sweet potatoes, and ginger were grown locally. The olive oil came from the Greek olive tree farm of a local family, and the eggs are from my favorite 'farmers who will deliver to your studio'. The budget it tight this week, so my $22 in groceries that included the ramps and sweet potatoes will stretch to cover the next 10 days or so with what's in the pantry, and there will be more ramps!

Budgets are a big consideration for many these days, and it brings to mind the perception that eating locally or organic is too expensive. It can be, but it doesn't have to be, and I'll likely mention that often as we go into this new market season. As I do, please keep in mind that I'm speaking from my own perspective - I'm not feeding a family, but I'm also not brimming with disposable income. My 'day job' is that I'm a full-time studio potter & instructor, in a new business venture that's still relatively young. If you've ever started (or, as is my case, re-started) a small business, you know how long it takes before the 'money out' column finally gets shorter than the 'money in'. It would be very easy for me to stock my pantry with inexpensive, processed foods, or fruits and veggies from big box stores that have low sticker prices.

But little as I make, it's up to me to track the quality and nutritional value of the foods I eat. And because I can't write big checks to social and/or political causes I may support, my financial contribution and my voice comes in where I do spend my dollars. So I choose to carefully support local farmers and producers, and local small businesses. Yes, there are steady menus of PB&J at times, but with planning I can enjoy the bounty of what is available to me locally and seasonally, and will share it here (maybe not so much the PB&J, although there are some delicious options when you grill them, so maybe you will see them here).

1 comment:

  1. How long does ramp season last? I haven't had any for a couple of years but I wouldn't mind stumbling across some.