A little more than a month ago, I came across a tiny little blurb about the rising popularity of food swaps in Whole Living magazine. Food swaps started getting attention after they gained some traction in New York City last spring. It’s really an old fashioned concept, yet feels new again in the era of social media that brings like-minded foodies together without major effort.
On Sunday, I attended my first event, hosted by the Boston Food Swap. I love making granola and figured it may be worth a shot to see what I could trade for it. The basic idea is to show up with something “homemade, homegrown or foraged by you” according to the rules of the swap. Beyond these rules, there are no limits to the variety you will find at the swap, covering both the savory and the sweet.
I packaged my granola in mason jars in a variety of sizes to give me a little more bargaining power. I dressed them up with red baker’s twine in honor of Valentine’s Day this week. My tote of edibles was a little heavy so I may opt for coffee kraft bags next time around.
The Boston Food Swap is currently being held at Space With a Soul (281 Summer St, Boston). Upon arrival, there were a number of swappers already set-up with samples being shared. I got my granola set up with samples offered in cupcake liners. There was plenty of time for sampling and socializing before the real fun began.
At this weekend’s swap, there was about 13 swappers. In the summer months, co-founder Tara B. said the numbers swell to 30-40 people when they come in to swap some of their summer harvest. Count me in for that too!
Some people come each month with a specific food item, like preserves. They are known for it. Other people mix it up each month depending on the time of year and what they feel like cooking. I wish I had heard about the swap earlier as they hosted a Cookie Swap in December. Yum.
The bidding process began and I hung back a little to better understand how this was going to work. Essentially you write in what you are willing to trade for a given item. In my swap sheet above, you can see there was a pretty good response to the granola. (smile) The next step was to make the trades. I can say that I got to bring home a fun foodie mix of treats, including the cupcake in a jar, which will be our Valentine’s Day treat tonight. I did not however, get my hands on the Tuscan White bean salad. Swappers don’t need to bring enough for everyone, so if you notice there is only a couple of a specific item, act fast. Lesson learned for the next swap.
Here is someone’s haul for the day, including fresh bread, blood orange curd, tabbouleh and my granola. I need to remember a cute basket like this for next time around.
To learn more about the Boston Food Swap, visit their website or their Facebook page. They have been organizing swaps since June 2011. (Where have I been?!) Mark your calendars for the next swap, March 18th, please RSVP online. You may just find some duck eggs there.
If you are not in the Boston area, check out Food Swap Resource to find one in your neck of the woods. Not near one? Start your own with neighborhood friends, church members, playgroup parents or anyone else with a love for food and sharing with friends.
I’ll share some additional details in a later post about some of the fun items I’m enjoying this week. On deck is lasagna with homemade ricotta, and of course, the cupcakes in a jar which my three year old I’m sure will adore.
Oh, and if you were at the swap, don’t miss my Homemade Yogurt post! It goes great with granola.
This post is shared with the great eco-friendly sites of Frugally Sustainable, Country Homemaker and SortaCrunchy. Also sharing with Blue Cricket Design, a link-up of creative ideas, and Raising Homemakers.
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About Emily Roach
Emily Roach is a culinary nutrition expert and works with clients to create a healthy lifestyle design. She loves teaching her kids how to cook, playing tennis and inspiring women to take control of their health. Emily does one-on-one consulting, cooking workshops and speaking engagements.