Foragers and chefs can’t get enough of ramps — wild onions that can be found in our western North Carolina mountains and on farm stands and in grocery stores for a limited time each spring. A mainstay in traditional Cherokee cooking for centuries, the increased demand for the pungent allium has led to population decline and growing concern for the beloved plant’s future.

In Forager Fridays, a virtual programming series offered by the Museum of the Cherokee People (MotCP) and made possible through the generous support of the North Carolina Arts Council, citizens of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians take audiences into the woods to bring spring and summer’s wild harvest from the forest floor to the supper table — sustainably.

Tips for foraging ramps

Here are 5 ramp foraging and preparation tips from forager Tyra Maney (Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, Diné) from Forager Fridays: Ramps, viewable on MotCP’s YouTube channel and Facebook page

  1. Look for plants with two green leaves that resemble rabbit ears.
  2. Bring a sharp knife with you and cut above the white bulb, leaving the roots so the ramps can grow again for next season.
  3. Enjoy ramps as a source of vitamins A, B, C, and iron.
  4. Try ramps over fried potatoes or scrambled eggs, or chop them up and incorporate them into meatloaf or hamburger patties.
  5. Dry your ramp harvest, grind them in a blender, and sprinkle in salt to make a ramp salt to enjoy on dishes all year.

Learn More About Gathering with the Museum of the Cherokee People

Check out the Spring Lecture Series: Gathering video playlist for more information on plant gathering traditions like foraging for Sochan (also known as the green-headed coneflower or cutleaf coneflower) and wild strawberries. For more educational resources from the Museum of the Cherokee People, please visit