The most local of all foods are the wilderness-foraged edibles of a region; mushrooms, berries, and wild onions or garlic to name a few. Items that are found nowhere else in the world with flavors that shape the local cuisine and cultures. The Fingerlakes Region is blessed with an abundance of forgeable items, with perhaps none so universally desired as “Ramps” or wild leek (Allium tricoccum).
I find the flavor to be a balance of garlic and sweet onion. Ramps are easily added to most savory dishes and also pickle well, making them a favorite of many chefs.
Mojo's enjoys utilizing ramps in its ' Wild Life Hot Sauce' because we feel that it is a good way to highlight this hyper-local food with such a unique flavor. Being that they are so popular however, brings ourselves and our customers concerns that they are harvested correctly, to ensure the best production rate for future generations to enjoy.
Ramps are indigenous to the North East region of North America being found in an area stretching from the Appalachian Mountains and north through Canada and as far west as Minnesota and east to the Atlantic Ocean. Preferring northern slopes, with good tree shade, the Finger Lakes region provides an excellent environment for ramp colonization. Ramps grow in clusters that slowly fill the desirable space over many generations. It can take a plant 5-7 years to reach seeding maturity, and up to ten years for new plants to fully form, making ramps extremely vulnerable to overharvesting and loss of habitat.
Safely harvesting ramps is done by taking only the center leaves, using a sharp knife, and being careful not to damage the surrounding bulbs or leaves. Never pick from the edges, and never pull the bulb up and disturb the roots. Ramps can’t tolerate more than 10% of bulbs being harvested in an area, and they take up to 10 years to regenerate. When purchasing ramps, never buy ramps with the roots intact, as this harvesting method is unsustainable.
Due to this vulnerability, care and attention must be paid in the harvesting, sourcing and marketing. Mojo’s only utilizes ramps which have been sustainably harvested by the farmer or property owner who can keep track of harvesting levels and methods.
This is also the reason we only offer Mojo’s Wild Life as a Seasonal Sauce; keeping production limited to what our Farmers tell us can be sustainably harvested each season. Additionally, Mojo's commits to donating 1$ from each bottle sold to Sustainable Tompkins of Ithaca New York.
We at Mojo’s Sauce want to bring you the best flavors using the most sustainable methods. It is our mission to be responsible stewards of our environment and productive members of the community. I hope that your interest in 'Wild Life Hot Sauce' will help you become interested to protecting our wild natural resources too!