By Christopher Matthews
On one of the most beautiful days of the year upstate (so far), the fifth annual Ramp Fest, a culinary celebration of “the wild onion of myth and mystery”, took place last Saturday (5/2/15) at Basilica Hudson in Hudson, NY.
But whether it was the stellar weather, effective advertising or a snowballing word-of-mouth, the crowd was early, large and voracious…
I was all set to arrive at the beginning of the event, which was scheduled from 12:00 to 4:00 pm. My plans went awry quickly, however, forcing me to depart much later than envisioned that afternoon. Still, I arrived at Basilica Hudson at 3:00 pm, well before the official closing time. This is what I found:
A plague of locusts could not have done a better job. The crowd must have been epic…and starved. Here are the participating restaurants that I missed, a combination of Hudson Valley establishments and New York City eateries:
Fortunately, Miss Lucy’s Kitchen (Saugerties, NY) still had some of its Ramp and Jalapeno Margaritas left, so the afternoon was not totally lost! It brought a bright, savory kick to the traditional Margarita — an excellent use of the tonic spring green.
This year’s Ramp Fest featured some education as well, namely a panel discussion on “Ramps and the Food Choices We Make”. As a wild plant with a long and fragile life-cycle, ramps can easily be over-harvested (even wiped out in places). So, introducing the sustainability concept with regard to ramps (something we’ve emphasized at Upstate-Downtown), especially to a ravenous, ramp-crazed crowd, was a welcome addition to the festival.
Note to self: Don’t be late to Ramp Fest 2016!