ELKINS, WV (WOWK) – Digging and eating ramps in the spring is a traditional activity throughout Appalachia. Monongahela National Forest staff say they often get questions about how many ramps the public can gather for personal use from the National Forest.
Collecting ramps for personal use is permitted on Monongahela National Forest, according to a press release from the Monongahela National Forest. Personal use is defined as two gallons per person in possession at any one time, or about the amount that fits in a typical plastic grocery bag. The forest service says this equals about 180 whole plants, including roots and leaves. They also say people are not allowed to collect ramps on behalf of someone else and commercial harvesting of ramps in Monongahela National Forest is not permitted.
The forest service shared guidelines for people collecting ramps to ensure an abundance of the plant in the future:
- Collect ramps only in patches with more than 100 plants.
- If you find a patch that has already been harvested, move on to another area.
- When collecting ramps from a large clump, take only one-fifth of the plants. Leaving behind the majority of the plants will allow them to mature and go to seed, and the patch will recover faster.
- If digging bulbs, use a soil fork or a small hand trowel and a knife, rather than a large shovel. The forest service says shovels disturb the root system of neighboring ramps and other plants much more than these smaller tools. To dig ramps, loosen the soil with the soil fork or hand trowel and use the knife to cut the ramp roots beneath the bulb.
- After you dig up a ramp, cover the bare soil with leaves to reduce the likelihood of invasive species taking root.
To learn how to grow ramps on your property, visit the USDA website.