My Dad, Dr. Cowan, always taught his kids that the key to growing good food is to farm the soil. Over the years and through many different experiments from creating a Hügelkultur, to broad-forking entire beds at the Napa Garden, we have always paid attention to the soil. In our search for sustainability and it’s derivatives; flavor, smell, freshness, nutrition, and color we have come across some interesting vegetables and farmers. Wild Ramps have some incredible qualities that aid in sustainability and preventing soil erosion, have the added advantage of being highly sought after for culinary purposes.
In early April, my wife, Emily and I were browsing through the last edition of the Morgantown Winter Farmers Market of the year. I was hopeful that we would be able to find some fresh spring vegetables and possibly Wild Ramps. That's when we met Max Dubansky. Max had by far the biggest and most pungent Ramps I have ever seen! It was at this moment that I knew we would be able to offer our Wild Ramp Powder again this year.
Max has over 20 years of farming experience and is the owner of Backbone Food Farm in Oakland Maryland. Located at the foot of the Appalachian Mountain Range, his 530-acre farm is mostly deciduous forest and provides a link between the wild and cultivated land. Named for the Backbone pigs that Max raises, the farm is small scale, and Max has mastered the utilization of naturally occurring food. In short, Max is a steward of the land who makes use of the excess that nature provides. Their CSA and farmer’s market stand offers an array of wild mushrooms, free-range pork, beef, as well as a diverse assortment of cultivated and wild foraged produce. Everything Backbone Food Farm produces or forages is done so with a highly sophisticated view of sustainability in mind. In his own words, Max is a soil farmer, since healthy soil is the key to the sustainable cultivation. Backbone Food Farm is a family run farm and includes multiple generations of family and friends in the local area.
Max carefully plan and rotates where he pick the ramps from year to year. Working on small 5-10 acre plots per year, he takes care to maintain plant density after picking to allow the Ramps to function in their fundamental ecological purpose; holding soil in place. First showing up just after the snow melts, the presence of Ramps signal that spring has arrived.
I approached Max with the idea of sourcing Ramps from his farm because it was evident from the quality and smell that the product would be phenomenal. One of the most sought-after members of the allium family, Ramps have a spicy and earthy flavor that is truly unique. So, it is with great pride that we are offering our Wild Ramp Powder again from a source we trust.
Joe Cowan, Co-Founder
Happy Spring, everyone! As I type this on an early Sunday morning, we are having a beautiful early spring here in the Northeast. Our new garden fence is up, the garden beds are slowly being made, the greenhouse is nearly finished, and seedlings are in the greenhouse planter boxes. For me, spring represents many things, but on a completely practical level it means the transition from “exercise” to doing actual work with my body. Shoveling, pushing a wheel barrow through mud, pitch forking hay — these are my favorite ways to work up a sweat and start the day.