One of the most highly anticipated events on the Sharp calendar, Ramp Fest Hudson, is a gastronomic event that celebrates the ramp—a wild onion of myth and mystery and the first forageable green, spring delicacy. The fifth annual edition on May 2nd did not disappoint, and nearly 700 foodies, foragers and ramp fanatics made pilgrimage to Basilica Hudson in Hudson, NY to devour ramp dishes created by chefs from upstate New York and the big city. Amongst the crowd were 15 Sharpies, who were delighted by a day of ramps and revelry in the charming town of Hudson.
Ramp Fest was started by Jeff Gimmel, head chef and owner of Swoon Kitchenbar, in 2011 and Sharp has handled the public relations for the event since its inaugural year. Over the years we have secured coverage in such outlets as Conde Nast Traveler, The New York Times, New York Magazine, New York Daily News, am New York, Metro New York, PureWow, Gothamist, Serious Eats, Food Republic, and Big Apple Nosh, among others.
This year's selection of ramped up offerings was perhaps the most diverse to date, and included everything from ramp matzoh balls with chicken and ramp broth to ramp and crackling buttermilk cornbread with dirty South comeback sauce. The Sharpie crew made no haste in sampling as many ramps as we could, and the ramp tater tots with ramp aioli, ramp arancini and spicy ramp jalapeño margaritas had us lining up for seconds (and thirds, and fourths…).
The 2015 event marked a formal collaboration between Ramp Fest organizers and Basilica Hudson—a 19th century reclaimed industrial factory turned exciting festival space and the home of Ramp Fest—to bring focus to sustainable agriculture, community and energy. An afternoon panel titled "Ramps and the Food Choices We Make" focused on these three topics. Sustainable ramp foraging is of great importance to the festival's organizers and local Hudson community leaders, and Ramp Fest prides itself on being a leaf-only festival so a to keep the ramp abundant in the Hudson Valley.
Once we had our fill of ramps, the Sharpie group took advantage of the sunny afternoon by strolling through Hudson. Not wanting to neglect the weekend's other celebrations, the Kentucky Derby and Cinco de Mayo, mint julep and margarita stops were made at several local favorite spots, including the Red Dot, Mexican Radio, and Swoon Kitchenbar, our friend an Ramp Fest organizer's Jeff Gimmel's charming restaurant.
For more information on Ramp Fest and the participating chefs, visit rampfesthudson.com