Ramps - Allium tricoccum ($2 per bulb)
Allium tricoccum, also known as ramp, wild leek, and wild garlic, is a woodland onion with a nice garlic-onion flavour, and one of the most sought-after wild edibles. Common across eastern North America, in rich, wooded areas, it has unfortunately become over-harvested in many regions, the result of its increasing popularity among both wild food enthusiasts and in upscale restaurants. Fortunately, it can be grown successfully in the semi-shade, along with many other woodland plants (ferns, lilies, etc.). It even bears attractive white flowers and will seed itself readily. $2.00 per bulb.
Cultivation: Easy to cultivate as long as it is planted in the right location: rich woodland or similar conditions (part shade with plenty of organic matter in a garden). It will spread easily from seeds and bulb division. The life cycle of the plant is unusual: leaves come out first (often one of the earliest spring ephemerals in the wild) then die off, followed, sometimes weeks later, by white flowers that turn into seeds in the fall.
Food preparation: Both the leaves and the bulbs are edible and delicious. Bunches of plants are often offered for sale in the spring. They are best chopped up, lightly sautéed on their own or in combination with other vegetables. A delicious spring treat is wild leeks mixed with other spring bulbs, like erythronium or claytonia. Many recipes for pickled ramps, ramp polenta, etc. can be found online.
Ethnobotany: Widely eaten by native peoples, it has recently become part of the local folklore in Quebec, the Appalachians, and other places where it is common. Several Ramp festivals are held in the US and Canada.