Friday, April 15, 2011

A Swapping How-To

While we’ve had enormous interest and positive responses from lots of folks (thank you, thank you), many of you may be still scratching your heads and wondering how this swapping thing actually works…

Let me demystify. This will be a casual and friendly gathering of food makers and cooks, who are all willing to bring their homemade goods and barter with others for them.  

You know how it is when you get fixated on an ingredient, or perfecting a new baking process, or just get too much of something in your CSA box and need to get creative with ways to consume it all? Well now instead of contemplating how you could possibly eat all that pickled whatever yourself, you don’t have to! 

Just sign up for the swap, make the items you want to trade and show up.

Goods from a recent BK Swappers event.
© All rights reserved by janelerner 
What to bring

Appropriate items for swapping include jams and preserves, syrups, oils, infused liquors and vinegars, home brewed alcohol and spirits, baked goods, candies, teas, home canned foods, pickles, chutneys, salsas, smoked meats, honey and more... In the words of our fellow swappers in Brooklyn, “if you made it and it's edible, you can trade it!” 

The event timeline

The swap event itself will last 2.5 to 3 hours. During the first hour or so we’ll sign-in, set up, have some brunchable eats, and get to know each other. 

Upon check-in each swapper will be given swap sheets where they write down the details of the items they brought to swap (what it is, ingredients etc.) See sample sheet here from our pals across the Bay, EBCA Food Swaps.

In the second hour, swappers will walk around and purvey all the goods. They will place bids on the sheets for the items they’re interested in trading for. Once bids have been placed, the swapping begins! 

Note that just because you write down a bid on someone’s sheet does not mean you will necessarily get the item. There may be multiple bids for each available item and every swapper can choose what they want to trade for. Swappers may also approach people who didn’t place bids on their sheets if they have items they want to try to trade for anyway. Swaps take place through discussion and agreed upon exchanges.

Tricks of the trade
  • Plan to bring 5-10 items (some people bring more, some less), which can range from packages of homemade granola to honey from your hives. You can also bring a mix of items if you want.
  • We suggest between 4–16 oz. as portion sizes, depending on the cost of the materials involved.
  • We definitely suggest bringing extra for samples. People are going to be more keen to swap when they can taste your amazing creations.
  • While packaging and presentation is wholly up to the individual, recycled containers are encouraged. 
  • Consider whether you need to bring something extra (bag, box etc.) to carry your new food items home! 
The event will be a potluck with a few dishes and special drinks provided by the hosts, so also plan on making a favorite dish to bring and share.

Want some visuals? Watch the below video of a recent PDX Swappers event taking place in Portland.

Hope this helped and has gotten you excited for the first swap on May 15th! 
Next steps
  1. Please “like” us on Facebook so you’ll be tuned in for event announcements and news from your fellow swappers. You can also follow us on Twitter: @sfswappers
  2. If you haven’t already joined our mailing list, do so by shooting an email to asking to be added. 
  3. Mark your calendar with the following dates: 
    • The first swap event is on Sunday, May 15th from 12-3 pm in the Mission (address provided upon confirmed reservation) 
    • Free tickets will be available starting on Tuesday, April 19th at 6 pm. Space is limited is 25 swappers, though we will have a waiting list in case there are cancellations.
Lastly, if you are interested in starting a food swap in your town, a couple of our swapping cohorts have posted their advice on how to host a food swapsee Hip Girl's Guide to Homemaking and Brooklyn Homesteader

Also have a look at the links on the right-hand side of this page if you are interested in reading more from other swap groups around the country, plus recent stories in the news!

Looking forward to a swapping good time with all of you!

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