The New Swap Meet: Food Swapping
Whether you do it as part of a social group with friends or show up at a meeting of fellow food swappers you’ve never met, you can bet on getting some wonderful and unique homegrown, homemade and foraged foods to bring back to your home.
The idea behind a food swap is to meet with other gardeners, canners, bakers and cooks to swap food in a relaxed environment and to share your passion for locally made items. One person might bring homemade bread, another several jars of fruit preserves, and another herbs from their garden. Bring 20 fresh baked scones to the swap and you might go home with lemon curd, garlic confit, lavender, handmade pasta, salsa, shortbread, and more. It’s a way to diversify one’s pantry, support local vendors, reduce your environmental footprint, and bring people together to share the bounty of their labor and creativity.
If you plan on hosting a party, here are some rules to a successful swap:
- Let people know that swap items must be homemade, homegrown, or foraged.
- Bring samples to share at the potluck so people can taste your culinary skills.
- Pick a venue that is big enough for everyone to sit and chat. Besides your home, you could try a community centre, business, or park.
- No money is to be exchanged.
- Be thoughtful in your offerings. Have options for those who eat gluten-free or vegetarian.
- Set time guidelines. We usually say around two hours, the first for people to mingle and sample, the second for actually swapping.
When packaging your foods to bring to a swap, make sure that they are in easy to see-through containers, and of course we recommend reusable, earth-friendly packaging whenever possible. Municipalities are also catching on, as the River Market in New Westminster recently hosted a food swap and Burnaby’s Moveable Feast holds one monthly, with the next one happening on October 21, 2013.
Whether you hold a swap with 5 people or 50, we highly recommend giving it a try. You’ll come away with new foods and build relationships with others who are just as passionate about food as you are.
Try this recipe for your next food swap from Smitten Kitchen.
Yield: 2 loaves or approximately 24 muffins
1 cup olive or vegetable oil
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 cups grated zucchini
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup dried cranberries, raisins or chocolate chips or a combination thereof (optional)
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Grease and flour two 8×4 inch loaf pans, liberally. (See those pictures of the cakes inside their non-stick pans? Yup, they’re pretty much hanging out in there for the time being.) Alternately, line 24 muffin cups with paper liners.
In a large bowl, beat the eggs with a whisk. Mix in oil and sugar, then zucchini and vanilla.
Combine flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, baking powder and salt, as well as nuts, chocolate chips and/or dried fruit, if using.
Stir this into the egg mixture. Divide the batter into prepared pans.
Bake loaves for 60 minutes, plus or minus ten, or until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Muffins will bake far more quickly, approximately 20 to 25 minutes.