Tuesday, August 21, 2012

First swap was a small-but-mighty success!

We had the first swap outside on a beautiful morning.  5 people attended.  Some folks brought several jars of the same item to swap.  Some brought one of a bunch of different foods.  The swap went seamlessly & everyone went home with a new assortment of foods.

The next swap is "planned" for early November.  By then we hope to rustle up twice as many people.  Maybe we'll all bring a friend.  Hopefully we'll also find some folks in Internetland that want to join us.  I'll pick a date soon. 

The next swap we'll open up to any FOOD OR GARDEN RELATED ITEMS including plants, cookies, whatever.  For the November swap we'll try to be Laissez-faire about what works as swappable items.  In otherwords, just bring it.  We'll let the swapping market decide if it works.

Friday, June 29, 2012

First swap date: August 18, 2012, 10am-noon @ the Mills Household

RSVP by contacting Jessica or through leaving a comment here on the blog.
This is our first swap and will probably be a little trial&error.  But it'll be fun!  Contact me with questions, too.

First Food Swap

Food Swap!
I'm working on putting together a food swap for Mid-August & thought you might be interested in participating.  Let me know if it sounds up your alley!

What's a food swap? A food swap is an event where a bunch of people bring homemade foods (mostly preserved or otherwise storable foods) to barter for other people's homemade foods.  For example, you might have gone overboard and made 10 jars of strawberry jam & you're thinking "What am I going to do with all this strawberry jam?"  Your neighbor is thinking "What am I going to do with these 10 bottles of tarragon flavored vinegar?" -- but if you both bring half your jars to the food swap and switch them out for foods you want, everybody wins!  I learned about food swaps from this video: http://cookingupastory.com/food-swap

How does it work?  On the morning of the food swap, you show up with however many items you want to barter*.  You set your goods out on the table and everybody walks around and checks out what's available.  When you find something you want, you write your name & what you have to offer in trade on that item's handy swap sheet (which I provide) .  Half an hour before we wrap up, you'll check out your swap sheets and see what you can get for the stuff you brought.  If there's a particularly hot item, there might be some counter offers.  You then pack it up and head home with a bunch of awesome stuff.  (I've never done one though, so we might have to figure things out as we go!).

What can I bring to the food swap? For this food swap, the rule I'm setting is Only Edible, Homemade Products.  Homemade granola is in, beeswax candles are out.  While that's the only rule, experienced food swappers suggest offering less-perishable items as they're usually worth more in the swap.  Anything in a jar is usually good & frozen cookie dough would be worth more than baked cookies.  Think of bringing things in jar-sized amounts for easier swapping.  Package your goods in containers that you don't need back.  Bring as much or as little as you like.  One jar is enough to get this thing rolling.  Consider bringing:
  • jams/jellies
  • pickled foods
  • flavored vinegar/oils
  • flavored booze
  • tea blends
  • dried fruits/meats
  • eggs
  • bread
  • frozen fruit, veg, sauces, soups, doughs
  • granola
  • salsa/barbecue sauce
  • etc etc etc
*If you remember, bring ingredient-lists for your goods -- or at least know if what you're offering is vegetarian, vegan or gluten-free.  Label your goods with a best-by date. If what you're offering isn't completely prepared, bring follow-up instructions/recipes so those that take your goods home know what to do with them.  If what you're offering is frozen, you might want to bring a printed photo or drawing for the table so we can keep the frozen stuff in the freezer during the swap.

What do I need to do between now and mid-August?  First, let me know if you're interested. It seems like we'll need at least 5-6 people to make it interesting. If you have friends that you think would be interested, please pass this along!  I'm hoping our collective circles will turn up enough interested swappers.  I'm thinking that a Saturday morning might work well, but I'm open to suggestions.  Second, start thinking about what you might bring. The farmers markets are about to get serious -- what might you turn that stuff in to?  I just figured out how to can food this year, and it's way way easier than I thought it would be.  I have some supplies and you're welcome to borrow them - but jars and a big pot are really all you need.  In general, jams & pickled things seem to be pretty easy places for a beginning canner to start.  www.foodinjars.com was helpful, as was the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving which I'm currently hogging from the Bexley Library.