The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Local News

March 30, 2014

Online travel guide developers want input on public ramp festivals

Spring ramp season in West Virginia is on the approach, and developers of the online travel guide West Virginia Explorer are soliciting public input to begin publishing a list of public ramp feeds.

Publisher David Sibray said writers and editors for the online guide think the singular feasts and festivals could play an emerging role in spring tourism in West Virginia.

“Promoting public ramp feeds can help boost travel in spring in many corners of the state,” Sibray said.

“People are ready to begin sightseeing, and the option to combine a quintessential Appalachian dish with a visit to a local park or historic site is just what the doctor ordered. It’s quite the spring tonic, we think.”

To launch in early April at WVExplorer.com, the guide also hopes to promote enjoyment of the early spring vegetable, also known as rampion, a variety of wild leek, which is typically consumed in late April and early May.

The plant, which is traditionally harvested from secreted patches in the forest, is enjoyed by many connoisseurs, though its pungent aroma is considered by others to be distasteful.

“I think the ramp is a food you love or you hate,” he said. “I’ve met few people who are on the fence about eating ramps.”

Ramps have always been an important food in the Appalachian Mountains, he said, as the plant is one of the first green vegetables to appear in spring.

Dozens of ramp dinners and festivals are likely to be hosted in the state each week, though Sibray said the guide is most interested in only those that wish to attract guests.

“We’d like to celebrate all ramp feeds everywhere, but we must limit our list to feeds and festivals that are open to the public,” he said.

Promoters of annual ramp dinners who are interested in welcoming guests are invited to visit the site’s homepage at WVExplorer.com, where they’ll find an article that outlines the information required to be listed.

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