Good food for an even better cause: Ramp up the flavor with county library’s ‘Appalachian Extravaganza’ April 23

BUCKHANNON – The annual Upshur County Public Library’s Ramp Dinner, “An Appalachian Extravaganza” will return this year after a hiatus due to COVID-19.

The 26th annual ramp dinner will take place from 5 to 7 p.m. April 23 as a take-out only event at Tennerton Elementary School. Paul Norko, director of the Upshur County Public Library, said he thinks everyone enjoys the sit-down aspect of the dinner, but the food is worth picking up.

“A lot of people go every year but I’m sure they would still be happy to pick it up, and Dale’s (Hawkins) cooking is always phenomenal,” Norko said. “I actually love ramps, but I also like onions, so I have no problem eating them. Dale’s ramp mac and cheese is probably the thing I look forward to the most.”

Dale is, of course, Chef Dale Hawkins, owner of Fish Hawk Acres, and he weighed in on Norko’s favorite dish.

“The mac and cheese is kind of legendary,” Hawkins said. “It has a blend of three different cheeses, and we use heavy whipping cream, there’s sharp cheddar and American, which helps it melt and gives it a good consistency, then we add bread crumbs on top of it.”

Patrons can ask for no ramps and the menu will consist of Fish Hawk Acres’s signature baked ham (no ramps); stir-fried vegetables (with and without ramps); gourmet macaroni and cheese (with and without ramps); potato and ramp soup (and soup without ramps); garden salad with fresh greens, tomatoes, cucumbers and carrots served with dill buttermilk dressing; dinner rolls with butter; and dessert includes both rustic apple pie with real whipped cream and mini ginger molasses cookies.

“We try to have what we think people would enjoy, and we go back and forth with the library on what kind of items they want to have the menu really hasn’t changed a lot in 25 years,” Hawkins said. “We’ve tried a few new things here and there, but people like the classics.”

Tickets must be purchased by April 17, and cost $25 a person and $12.50 for children under 12, with all the proceeds will go towards the Upshur County Public Library.

 Norko said local people supporting the library would be especially appreciated this year.

“Covid really through the library for loop because we weren’t able to do much of anything,” Norko said. “We weren’t able to have people in, we weren’t able to do our usual story times on Thursday evening or Thursday mornings, so our programs were affected. Having a ramp dinner is what helps us support these activities because it provides money for purchasing the materials for crafts and for story time.”

Reservations are accepted through EventBrite, in person at the Circulation Desk or by calling the Library at 304-473-4219, extensions 10 or 14, during regular library hours.

“Please come out and support the library because we really do appreciate the community support from people coming here,” Norko said.

Library hours are 9:30 a.m. through 6:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 9:30 a.m. through 5 p.m. on Fridays, and 9:30 a.m. through 2 p.m. on Saturdays.

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