After a long winter, settlers in West Virginia hungrily welcomed the appearance of the wild leek or ramp, one of the first edible plants to ripen in the Appalachian forests in spring. The ramp became the focus for a tradition of community feasts — a tradition that lingers in rural Appalachia.
Beginning in April and continuing through May, scores of community ramp dinners and full-scae festivals are hosted throughout the state. Many are small affairs that welcome fewer than a hundred guests. Others feed more than 1,000 in the course of an afternoon.