A Non-Foodie Attends a Food Swap: Why I went, what I learned and why I’m going back!

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As soon as I pressed “submit” on my RSVP for a recent From Scratch Club Food Swap in Saratoga, I got panicky.  I’m not a foodie.  My skills in the kitchen are limited.  I’ve never canned, don’t churn or braise or poach, and really don’t do a lot “from scratch”.  Remember how panicky I was for Once-A-Month-Cooking too?  What can I say, I’m a glutton for punishment!

Why I went:
Given that OAMC was such a success, I thought that for my next trick I would dive into the Food Swap movement. Besides, I had heard only great things about From Scratch Club Food Swaps and I really wanted to be able to share my experience with my dear readers!  My other motives included networking with the amazing women behind From Scratch Club, getting out of the house on a weeknight and simply enjoying a glass of wine with good friends and new friends.

What happens at a Food Swap?
I only sort of knew before I went.  I knew that I had to bring a certain number of items, and that I would leave with that same number.  Thankfully, Christina Davis, Editor and Founder of From Scratch Club was a most gracious host and had the swap logistics down to a science.  She explained everything thoroughly and left no question unanswered.  In addition, folks that had been to a swap before were dolling out helpful tips and tricks throughout the evening.Mama Baileys My Food Swap Item

What did I bring/What did I come home with?
I contemplated several things, but eventually decided on homemade Bailey’s.  What could possibly go wrong with whiskey, condensed milk, cream, vanilla and almond extracts, coffee, and chocolate syrup.  Thankfully nothing did go wrong and I even had time to nicely package my concoction. (see right)

I left the swap with delicious curried butternut squash soup, tea bags and tea cookies, and apple butter.  I also brought home one of my Bailey’s for my husband to sample.  I could have swapped for another item, but I wasn’t all that interested in the items that were left un-swapped.  As Christina explained to us in the beginning, “it’s not charity.  Leave with items you really want and don’t feel bad telling someone no…in a nice way”.

What I learned:
Since items are swapped 1-for-1, I would bring a few more items next time. I probably could/should have brought 6 slightly smaller units of Bailey’s instead of 4.

  • Packaging is part of the fun!  Nicely packaged items look more appealing and send the message that you really care about your item.  FSC Swappers spent a lot of time on packaging as you can see from the photos and it just makes it special.
  • Offering samples of your item is a great way to both pique interest and let swappers ‘try before they buy’ or in this case, swap!
  • You can bring just about anything!  Soup, breads, balsamic vinaigrette with homemade croutons, truffles, infused vodka, syrups, jams, jellies, butters, hummus, body scrub, herbs, produce, the list goes on and on! 

Beautiful Packaging Tea Time SetWhy I’m going back:
Isn’t it the best when you have certain expectations for something and they are totally exceeded?  That’s what happened to me at the Food Swap.  The hosts were gracious, the guests were friendly, the food was outstanding, and the evening flowed perfectly.    I left with some absolutely delicious items that I wouldn’t have made myself; apple butter/tea bags/etc.

There was no cost to attend, just an option to leave a donation on your way out.  Exit 9 Wine & Liquor provided wine, and Common Thread on Beekman Street provided the space.

The next Food Swap in Saratoga is taking place on Wednesday, December 7th once again at Common Thread on Beekman Street.  FSC also hosts food swaps in Albany.  Here are links for more information on From Scratch Club and their Food Swaps:

Visit From Scratch Club on the web
‘Like’ From Scratch Club on Facebook
‘Like’ FSC Swappers on Facebook to get the details on all the upcoming Swap events

Check out these pictures for a look at the gorgeous packaging and interesting food items!  Have you been to an FSC Food Swap?  Would you consider going in the future?

 

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