Tuesday, 5 February 2013

My First Food Swap

Food swaps are something I've seen mentioned in the blogs of American crafters before, but apart from the odd one in London, I'd not heard of any in the UK. So imagine my joy when a local allotment group I follow on Facebook announced one happening in the very city I live in!

A group called Apples for Eggs were putting on a food swap and I was determined to attend! I recruited my fellow baker/food enthusiast SGx and we set to working out what to make. It was a bit difficult doing research online for it. The majority of food swaps I could find mentioned were ones held in the US, and they seem to take their food swaps very seriously over there! A lot of the things being exchanged were of a quality you'd expect to be paying for, not at a food swap. I didn't think we were ready for that level yet. So, bumbling along through things as I normally find myself doing, I came up with this humble selection of goods:

That's jars of lemon curd, plates of chocolate muffins and tubs of granola.

Once we arrived, we found a place to display our wares and filled in a form for each thing we'd brought with us. After set up there was about an hour for people to mingle about and bid on your items with theirs. (e.g. if I found something I wanted to take home I'd bid one jar of lemon curd or "anything from my table"). Then there was announcement saying it was time to swap.

Now I'm sure this bit works fine when you've got a group of outgoing individuals (not to cast asparagus, but I'm sure it works a it better in America), but I found this bit took a bit of getting used to, we were really only getting into the swing of it by the time everything was swapped. This part of the afternoon required you to be brave and go up to people with one of your items to offer in exchange for theirs. There was a lot of awkward interactions with people and missing out on things I had my eye on due to my being too slow and doddery. But I definitely learnt a lot from it. People were by far more interested in savoury things, the cake market was a bit saturated to say the least. Interesting preserves (someone had made some apple curd, and it was SO GOOD) and different taste combinations went down best. It was also a good idea to have lots of tasters for things, which I foolishly thought I could get away with not doing.

At the top of this post you can see the goodies I came home with. A fair few jams, some reallllllllly good flapjack, a jar of SGx's delicious passata (she was totally eyeing up my chocolate muffins all afternoon, so we swapped :D ) And some dried apple slices. Hmmm...

Overall the food swap was lots of fun, very interesting and enlightening. It's lovely to see what people outside your normal baking circles (i.e. Ma and SGx!) create, lots of new ideas.

It was even covered by the local newspaper! Here's the video link. You can see me about a third of the way through, scratching my face and looking generally a bit shifty....

There's another food swap in the works for York due in early spring apparently, with things like seedlings and cuttings being swapped as well this time. I've already started with my game plan, I've got what I hope are some good ideas for things to swap. I just need to work on being more outgoing and I should have a winning food swap formula!

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