Sunday, April 1, 2012

Spring Has Sprung!

Yay!!  Spring is here.  I can't say "finally" because we had such a mild winter and spring started showing up in January.  Yet, it is March and officially spring.  This is one of our favorite times of the year.  The gardens around the inn start to develop, the daffodils pop up.  Birds are singing loud and proud and working hard to build their nests, or spruce up the ones they left from last year.

Ramp with dew
Best of all, spring is the time for ramps and morels.  Two of my favorite foods.  Ramps are an early spring vegetable with a strong garlic like odor and a pronounced onion flavor.  They are nothing short of superb and are the ideal addition to eggs, potatoes, trout, pasta, pizza (that's right!), butter, etc.  We like them from raw to cooked, from root to leaf, and all the in-between.  Right now they can be found on our menu broiled with fresh trout and a little beer.  John is famous for pickling them and preserving them for later, or adding them to butter and then topping a delicious Rib-eye with said ramp butter.  I love to put them in a blender with olive oil, salt, pepper, and a little Parmesan cheese to make a pesto which can be used on pasta or as a pizza base.  Quite possibly even more fun than eating them is the time spent in the woods digging them.  John and I look forward to the afternoons we can spend hiking through the forest (in WV) with our digging tool of choice, our dog Turley, and the promise of a full grocery sack of ramps.  We recently took a lovely drive on the scenic highway in WV to go to one of our favorite ramp digging spots: Tea Creek.  This is a stunning part of the state located in nearby Pocahontas Co., WV.  It is about a 45 minute drive from the inn west on highway 39 through Marlinton, WV and then north off of Rte. 219. 

John, Turley, and ramps

Did I mention we also love morels?  These little mushrooms are not as easy to spot as the ramp and grow in abundance right here in Bath Co.  Friends and locals tell tales of scooping up pounds of these delicious mushrooms, but don't think they will share their morel spot; that secret is taken to the grave.  I often wonder, because I've yet to find one, if folks who point me in the "right" direction, are really just sending me further away from their morel spot.  Nah, now why would they do that :)?  Luckily we just have to wait patiently for someone to pop by the back door with bags full of morels for sale to finally enjoy them.  If you can find them, and I hope you have more luck than I, enjoy them, because they are here for a such short time in spring, and although you can buy them dehydrated nothing compares to a freshly picked morel.

Whatever it is you love about spring, and I could go on and on, we hope that you will someday make a trip to experience spring in Bath Co.