Food Swap!

by Sandy Swegel

A group of people who really like to eat interesting food has gotten together with a group of people who really like to cook and preserve interesting food and they’ve come up with a simple ingenious way to make each other happy.  Host a Food Swap!

Have you ever noticed that sometimes the people who do the most cooking and food preparation often don’t eat that much?  By the time the meal comes, they’re not all that interested in the final product.  Either they’ve been nibbling along the way, or they’ve already mentally started their next menu idea.  My friend Julia is like that.  Her pantry shelves are filled with rows and rows of preserves or exotic liqueurs and vinegars that she creates from Farmer’s Market produce she buys each week or gathers while out foraging after she does her high-tech computer job all day. Food is the medium for her art.

Fortunately, her friend Eve knew a lot of people like Julia, and other people who had small market farms and other people who simply loved to eat.  So each month, Eve organizes Food Swaps in Denver, Boulder and Fort Collins. Everyone brings what they do best or what they happen to have.  Last month’s swap items included:

Preserves from Julia
Fermented summer vegetable preserves
Winter Squash and leeks from a market farmer
Homemade vanilla extract
Fresh lard from a pig farmer
Crusty artisan breads
Soups:  grass-fed-beef minestrone and vegetarian split pea soup
Chilies preserved in vodka
Homemade tamales
Honey
Eggs

Everyone gathers at a rotating local venue, spends the first half hour eying up each other’s products and swapping recipes or gardening secrets, then they decide what they want to swap.  If you want something from somebody who doesn’t want what you have…you find somebody with something they do want.  It’s a big but organized free for all….and amazingly everybody goes home happy with culinary treasures for the month.

Consider setting something up for your community or there might be something already going on.

Check Out:

Food Swap Network.
http://www.foodswapnetwork.com/

If you’re in Colorado, join us at Mile High Swappers.
http://www.milehighswappers.com/Mile_High_Swappers/Home.html

And here’s a video from an Indiana Food Swap. http://www.indyfoodswappers.com/2011/09/20/90-seconds-inside-the-indy-food-swap-2/

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