Photography - Stephen Hamilton, Story - Max Hamilton, Food - Sarah Gruenberg, Cece Hamilton & Josephine Orba, Title & Design - Judith Mara
As morning rises, someone clad in leather scampers through the forest. A thin canopy of budding leaves hangs above the roaming figure, sun filtering through the green-tipped branches. A memory of fruit trees and southern slopes is suspended between the foragers' eyes as they start to inspect the foliage around them.
Once they find a tree they're satisfied with they shift their focus to the ground, crouching to rearrange leaves and twigs with methodical sweeping motions. Occasionally they straighten their hunch to inspect a small object they plucked from the earth against the rising light. The forager then either gingerly tucks it into a worn netted bag at their hip or flings it back behind them.
When the ground has been properly shuffled and their bag feels more weighted the forager departs to the next patch while daydreaming of their delicious morels. Veering onto a thin footpath, the figure follows a dark trail of soil until wet leaves plaster the earth. Here they halt and slowly scan the woods around them.
The same spring breezes that have driven the snow back into its den twice this year flow through this newly budding forest, and the figure’s eyes widen.
In the shadow of a mossy stump a small patch of ramps is growing. The forager approaches the scattering of loose tubular stalks and kneels on the carpet of compost to harvest their prize from the center of the grove.
They snap the stalks around the middle, careful to preserve this cluster and leave the roots. The figure smiles to think of these plants asleep in wax-sealed jars in their pantry but leaves the bulk of the ramps to multiply out in the forest.
The best place to search for morels is on the ground around the edge of an old apple orchard.
Also look beneath groves of oak, elm, ash, and aspen trees.
Ramps grow under hardwood trees such as oak, beech, birch, maple, tulip poplar, buckeye, basswood, and hickory. Don't bother looking under conifers.