Every time I get to go to one of these food swaps, I am always blown away by the skill and creativity of the home cooks in our Portland food community.
This quarter’s swap featured a beautiful cake, several mustards, dill pickles, marinated chevre, zucchini soup, soft pretzels, artisan breads, curries, granola, salsas, sourdough and kombucha starters, chocolate caramel popcorn and pickled everything.
Here’s my haul – jars clockwise from top right: dilled carrots, salsa, zucchini soup, chai tea spice, strawberry rhubarb jam, marinated chevre, vegetarian paneer, spicy beer mustard, and apple butter. In front, left to right, are candied orange peels, soft pretzels and amazing cheddar jalapeno bread from my friend Kumi at Ruchikala.
A few other scenes from the swap…
Thanks to the Art Institute’s restaurant, Sharp, for hosting us in their kitchen!
Here’s the basket of soft pretzels. These are the real deal! They were incredible.
Goji berry hummus – whaaaaat?
The person across the table from me had some of my favorite things. I ended up taking home a jar of the marinated chevre.
Someone brought an entire cake!
Here’s my haul again. I congratulated myself for bringing a can box to hold all of the stuff I was bringing home. It made the walk back to my car so much easier.
If you love to cook, can, dehydrate, preserve, or otherwise produce food in bulk, I highly recommend that you come out to a swap sometime. This is my third (I missed the last two, unfortunately), but here are they key things I’ve learned as I’m transitioning from newbie to regular:
• Bring a variety of items – I usually try to do about 4 of differing values/sizes. The person whose bread you want to try for may have their own batch of plum jam at home, so if you only bring plum jam, you’re out of luck!
• Bring unique items. This is a good time to let your creativity shine! Usually several
swappers bring classic jams with made what’s right in season. To maximize your swap value, it’s good to have something no one else has.
• Share samples! The best way to convince people that they want to take your stuff home is to actually let them taste it.
• Bring the number of things you want to bring home. Generally, items are traded 1 for 1, unless they are very different in value. So if you want to pack your pantry, bring a lot of items. I usually bring 15-20.
• Bring something for the house. Usually swaps are put on by volunteers who are doing it out of love of community. Bring a jar of your goods or a couple of bucks to donate to operating costs.