Ramps Signal Spring; Ripe and Runny Cheese Comes Early

Okay, it's officially spring: The ramps have rolled into town.Photo: Zoe Singer


The pink, white, and green flag of spring has been raised: Little ramplets reared their heads a few inches from the damp earth last weekend, and Greenmarketers are already engulfed in the savory fumes of their oniony funk.

What to Look For
Wake up! It’s spring! Hit the market before noon to grab your share of ramps and join the ranks of fire-breathers. Try the pungent symbol of spring in risotto, or sauté and toss with pasta and cheese ($2.50 per bunch at Mountain Sweet Berry, available Wednesday and Saturday).

During January’s disconcerting warm spell, the lactic ladies of Bobolink farm abandoned their hay to eat grass while the sun was shining. Their milk became rich and sweet, inspiring farmer Jonathan White to form a few wheels of the washed-rind Red Baudolino cheese, which he usually doesn’t make till spring (and therefore can’t sell till late May). Indulge in this creamy, earthy spread with the farm’s duck-fat-garlic ciabatta for a Frenchified, adults-only version of a bialy with cream cheese. Don’t be prudish — this ripe, runny delight will run right out in a week or two (cheese is $20 per pound, ciabatta is $4 per loaf at Bobolink, available Friday).

The new butter-pecan sandies from Our Daily Bread, though not particularly sandy, are full of the first two ingredients. Who knows why the buttery, nubby, brown-sugar-and-nut-laden disks chose this week to arrive — and who cares? They look like cookies and taste like pralines. Let us hope they will never go out of season ($5 for four cookies at Our Daily Bread, available Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday).

It’s not too early to plan your salads for August. Ted Blew is bringing in promising varieties of heirloom tomato plants like Black Brandywine and Yellow Plum. Keep them in a sunny place indoors till the weather is trustworthy, then move to a big pot in a warm spot on your patio or deck, wait three months, and presto: tomatoes! ($8.75 per plant at Oak Grove, available Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday).

Beyond the Greenmarket
If you’re hungry for bigger, better spring delights, spring for the fiddleheads foraged from who-knows-where and available at the Garden of Eden. Unfurled wild fern shoots, these crisp green vegetables look like alien tentacles and taste a little like asparagus, with which they can be successfully paired. Or sauté them with ramps for a bruschetta primavera ($16.99 per pound at Garden of Eden). — Zoe Singer