Thursday, February 21, 2013

My First Food Swap

Defined, a food swap is a recurring event where members of a community share homemade, homegrown, or foraged foods with each other. Swaps allow direct trades to take place between attendees, e.g., a loaf of bread for a jar of pickles or a half-dozen backyard eggs. Swap events also include a potluck as an immediate food-sharing (and sometimes item-sampling) component. These events are a delicious way to diversify the homemade foods in your own pantry while getting to know members of your local food community.

Sounds fun, doesn't it!!

So I’ve been super excited to attend a food swap, I was unable to attend any of the past few meetings.

With the “derby city food swap” setting a date, I started going through my pantry  to see what I had extra of in the canned good variety. Then went on to search my freezer and fridge. After looking  through everything, I decided on the following:
2 jars of spaghetti sauce
2 jars of peach BBQ sauce
1 jar sweet potato butter
2 frozen pizza dough
2 bags black walnut (1/2 cup each)
4 mini pumpkin chocolate chip breads

So I busied myself making cute labels and tags for all of my items. Then packed up my box and went to the meet up. Walking in I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was greeted by one of the organizers, asked to make a name tag, how to fill out my bidding sheets, donation jar and name for a door prize. It was a lot to take in, in two minutes :)

So I went into the next room where table had been set up and ladies were busy setting up their items. I found an empty spot and started to unload my items. Trying to layout my space to be appealing, room for my samples, bidding sheets and still leave room for others to come in and set up.

Then I stood back and started to gaze around at what all had been brought. Within twenty minutes the two organizers explained out the swap would work.

Here is how a standard food swap goes:

Swaps usually last about two hours.

The first 30 minutes of the swap are devoted to sign-in, set-up, and greetings. Swappers fill out name tags and swap sheets and set up their wares on the tables.

The next 30 minutes to 1 hour are for everyone to walk around, examine, and sample items from the other swappers. Swappers will write their names and items they brought on the sheets for any items they would like to take home.

The final 30 minutes are when all the swapping actually happens. Everyone goes back to his or her original sheets of paper, looks at the offers, finds interested offers via their name tags, and swaps.

So what was there to choose from? A lot of lovely homemade, home grown, home raised goodness, including chicken eggs, meats, dish towels, pizza sauce, protein bars, granola, jams, ketchup, chicken broth, basil infused vodka (yes, you heard me), pie fillings, vegan gravy, biscuits, and banana puree ice cream. Like I said, a lot.

So I went around putting down what I would swap for each item, we did everything 1 for 1, to keep things simple. 

Then it was time to go back and look at your offers and decide which ones you wanted to swap with. This was a time of people going back and forth, searching for names and making final “yes” to the swaps at hand. Collecting our goods and stashing them under the table so to keep them safe. Then as the noise settles down, with last minutes of “I have this left who wants to trade?”  You gather everything up and lay it out on the table to see what all you collected in the blur of the past ten minutes….

And what did I walk away with, well the following: 2 pkgs of pork chops, 1 ground sausage (1lb), jar of curried ketchup, bag of granola, 1 dish cloth, 1 jar of pizza sauce, a dozen eggs, jar of strawberry rhubarb jam, container of chocolate banana puree ice cream, and 2 bundles fresh rosemary

Get was a great swap and I can’t wait for the next one, which they say should start being monthly!! If you are in the area please checkout their blog or 'like' them on facebook, links are below:


Sonya loved the dish cloth and got busy cleaning her stove.

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