From clothing to skill-sets, our broke minds have always seen swapping as a way to get something we really need for… our less-than-marketable possessions. If homemade food’s involved, though, a swap can include some pretty sweet stuff all around. Brooklyn urban farmer Meg Paska and baking/canning enthusiast Kate Payne started trading their homemade edibles, and so was born BK Swappers and its bi-monthly gatherings of cooks, bakers and jam-canners, all stoked to snack-up and stock the pantries. And the next swap’s this Sunday, Aug. 1.
The premise of food-swapping is simple. Everyone brings a homemade (or homegrown) item to exchange, everyone leaves thrilled with their windfall. Maybe a swap’s success is due to preservers’ tendency to have 30 jars of jam left from that raspberry bounty last summer, or maybe it’s just the inherent good vibes of people getting together to barter granola.
The rules for this Sunday’s swap are simple too: Show up with either a homemade larder good (pickles, preserves, butter, chutney), a wrapped kitchen success (cookies, bread, dried foods, whatever) or a snack for 20-30 people. Of course, there’ll be snacking. Bring your famous elderberry-peach chutney and walk out with millet-oatmeal bread, or trade eggs from your backyard chicken for something pickled. RSVP ASAP to ensure you get a place at the table.
And if you’re busy Sunday, no worries—you can always put together your own swap. Kate shares some handy swapping tips with us through her blog, A Hip Girl’s Guide to Homemaking (making Kate the first person in 10 years brave enough to call herself hip). She recommends:
1) Organize the swap with a friend or two. Communicate with the group through email, Facebook or Twitter (with a good hashtag, like #BKSwappers). That way, everyone will be abreast of a need for a punch bowl or your latest concoction for the swap (#hipgirls is bringing blackberry-peach sorbet).
2) Set your rules ahead of time. BKSwappers insists everything brought is homemade. Also determine when the swap itself occurs—in their case, the beginning of the event’s last hour.
3) Label everything. Not only does this save time re-explaining your every ingredient, but it facilitates BK Swappers’ silent-auction style swap system. On every item’s card, attendees write what they would trade for it. At the designated time, everyone chooses their favorite.
4) Invite your foodie friends and plan your table based on their RSVP (they should tell you what they’re bringing).
5) Arrange for potluck-style snacking. Tension would run high, hungrily staring at a bunch of beautiful food. Make the swap a party instead. BK Swappers will be serving up sorbet fizzes and cordials.
The BK Swappers food swap is happening this Sunday, Aug. 1, from 2 to 5 p.m. Address given to RSVPers.