The last post that I wrote got me thinking about food. Yep, you read that right. It’s just something about the season. As the days start to get longer, I can’t help but think that we’re getting closer and closer to the onset of growing season. It takes a little longer to get to the growing season here in the high country, but it’s coming. I can tell by the songs that the birds have started singing, by the way the air feels on pretty days, and how the light has started to shift and change. In fact, at my house we’ve got plenty of seed starts taking up space in our windowsills already. We’re excited! That being said, if you’re planning on having a spring wedding (or any event, really), there are so many ways that you can honor the earthy, bright flavors of spring. Read on for ideas about incorporating the flavors of spring in Appalachia into your menu.
Forage for wild mushrooms.
Or hire someone to forage for wild mushrooms for you. Or better yet, work with a catering company who has someone that already forages for their wild mushrooms! It all depends on the type of experience that you’re looking for….or that you’re looking to give your guests. Some of the popular varieties of mushrooms that you can find here in the high country are chanterelles, chicken-of-the-woods, and morels (just to name a few). You’ll find mushrooms like these on the menus of some of the finest restaurants in the high country, so don’t hesitate to get a little experimental and add some to your own menu.
The brightest flavors of spring! I just love a salad made with garden fresh greens. So many of our farmers up here get their greens going early. Arugula, spinach, mustard greens, kale, you name it. All of these can be started and harvested early in the season. Reach out to local farmers to see what varieties they’re growing.
Edible flowers galore.
I love watching the first flowers of spring poke their sleepy heads up from the earth. What a treat it is to finally see some color. Did you know that many of these early flowers are actually edible? One of my favorite edible wildflowers is violet. They can be used in salads, made into jellies, or even candied. Just make sure you get them from a reputable source, especially if you’re harvesting them yourself. Why? You never know what type of pesticide could have been used in the area that you’re harvesting. Dandelion flowers and greens are also edible, as is clover. Consider sprinkling these flowers (and dandelion greens) into your salad or garnishing your cake with edible flowers!
Ramps, of course.
It’s an Appalachian thing. And chefs as far as NYC even seek out ramps from the hillsides of the Blue Ridge Mountains. A ramp is a type of wild onion with a distinct flavor that can only be described as… ramp-like. It’s an interesting combination of an onion-y flavor that’s leak-like, yet also garlicky. If you’ve never tried ramps, well I highly recommend it! They can be hard to find, too. I’ve had them cooked in butter, and I’ve even had them pickled. They’re a delicacy that will surely impress…if you’re able to find enough to add to your menu. Read more about ramps here.
Not hosting your event in the high country?
I recommend doing a little research about food in the area that you’re hosting your event. There’s something really meaningful about connecting with local vendors in your area. A menu with meaning is memorable, which is one of the many reasons why I was excited to compose this post about the flavors of spring in Appalachia. If you are planning an event in the high country, consider our venue: White Fence Farm.