Home made food / craft swaps

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Crafting
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babyshoesbabyshoes Forumite
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edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Crafting
We went to the first swap group near us today. It was great fun, though we did come home with an awful lot of cake - which is appropriate given that it is OH's birthday! Luckily the 2 large loaf cakes will freeze, and the cupcakes and brownies won't last long around here anyway... We also got some dried bay leaves and a jar of nice jam. We were offered some veg plants too, but sadly have nowhere to put them. We were a little slow and missed the 2 ham hocks and bread sadly.

As well as getting something different to what you'd normally make, it was also nice to chat to some like-minded people and swap tips on things like getting jam to set! There was a lovely community feel to it, which was very pleasant.

Being the first one, I think people were playing it safe, just bringing a few things to see what it was like, but when talking to them they said things like 'oh yes, we also make X, but weren't sure if it would be welcomed.' We went to the other extreme and took a little of everything, from jams to homebrew and some crafty things too. Hopefully, the next one in a month's time will be a bit bigger with more variety. It will certainly be further into the growing season, so perhaps we will get some fresh fruit and veg.

The idea is that anyone can sign up, and then come along with their home-made / home-grown produce; such as baked goods, homebrew, fruit/veg, plants/seeds, preserves, eggs, crafts etc. You set up your items first and make labels for them, then go around and look at the other products and write down on the item's label what you'd like, and what you could offer in exchange, then when everyone's done you make your swaps, with a bit of haggling over who gets the coveted items like our damson gin!

Obviously, there are laws around commercial food production so it operates as a private club (which is why you need to sign up) and by doing so you agree not to sue anyone if the food you get is not up to scratch, and also agree that the food you bring has been made hygenically, and so on, which seems like a very sensible way to go about it!

I'm not too sure if the link would be allowed on here, but I'm happy to share it by PM if anyone is near St Albans and wants to attend the next one on the 6th of July. I'd also encourage anyone without a nearby group to start one up. It seems fairly easy - I believe the pub were happy to have their garden used on a Saturday morning (as there'd be someone there anyway getting ready for lunchtime), and I doubt they charged for it, as it is a free community event. The main issue is getting the word out, though the local press seemed keen to be involved - they ran a short article beforehand and sent a photographer along for about 5 mins at the start. I am in a couple of the press photos, though not sure if they'll use those ones!
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  • Wow, that sounds lovely! I wish they had something like that near me! Who organised yours? Was it just individuals from the community or an established group?
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  • the-mangothe-mango Forumite
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    That sounds wonderful! Where did you find out about it?
  • babyshoesbabyshoes Forumite
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    It seems to have been organised by just one woman from the community, after discussion and one or two informal swaps with friends, probably in the pub where it was held!

    She advertised on various websites, at the pub itself, at her allotment society and got mentioned in the local paper. We found out about it via an article my partner read on the BBC last week, which apparently had a link to local meets.
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  • mysk_girlmysk_girl Forumite
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    Sounds amazing! I want one near me! <feels a project coming on...>

    Could you PM me the St Albans details please, I have an aunt who is local and would definitely be interested :-)
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Forumite
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    what a brilliant idea I am sure if it had enough publicity it could take off .I would be happy to swap some of my baked biscuits or cakes for maybe some HM Jam or something else .It could be widened to include maybe a nights baby sitting by the older folk who maybe aren't that craft minded in exchange for a bit of lawn mowing or something basically you would be swaping talents that you take for granted for something that you maybe can't do yourself.be it craft,cooking a bit of gardening or even baby sitting.I wonder if the WI would be interested in setting something up.Or the local churches Its a thought .I think everyone has something to give to the community it just needs a bit of a nudge
  • alfsmumalfsmum Forumite
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    Hi Folks,

    I posted this linky on another thread the other day, it may help explain the background to the swapping movement

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-22539062

    Hth
  • babyshoesbabyshoes Forumite
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    alfsmum, I think that may be the same article my OH read which lead to her finding a link for the swap we went to. It wasn't directly linked, but I believe she found it via one of the links in the article.

    mysk_girl I've sent you the link, hope it's useful.
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  • mysk_girlmysk_girl Forumite
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    Thanks for the link, I think my aunt will definitely want to be involved and I'm having serious thoughts about looking into setting one up near me. Cos I haven't got enough to do... (3 kids under 6, work 4 days a week, chair of preschool committee...)
  • babyshoesbabyshoes Forumite
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    The second one was yesterday,and there was a much larger selection of things, despite there being slightly fewer people attending due to all the other summery events happening at the same time.

    Instead of a huge pile of cake, we came home with such joys as 2 litres of delicious ginger beer, a home smoked ham hock (anyone got a great recipe to use this in, by the way?), chicken liver pate, a pair of framed watercolour paintings, free-range eggs (with a photo of the happy looking chooks on the box), a couple of cupcakes, and rhubarb crumble.

    We decided that something savoury would go down well, and indeed our 4 quiches were snapped up quickly. The home brew lager was also popular again. We will have to make more as soon as the experimental elderflower champagne is out of the brewing barrel!
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  • carolbeecarolbee Forumite
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    What a fantastic idea, would be very keen if one was in my area
    Carolbee
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