CNY Food Swap

My friend Karen and I have just returned from a “food swap”:  A gathering of like-minded folks who bring whatever preserved items they have extra from their own farms or gardens to swap for items others have brought.  These items are preserved in various ways to be kept until needed.  There was canned foods, dried items, cheese, frozen meat, fresh produce items that keep well, baked-goods, preserves, granola, honey and vanilla sugar, even kombucha (fermented tea) starter!  I brought with me a case of honey, something I have plenty of, and exchanged it for some amazing foods, some of which I had never heard of, and I am delighted!

A vareity of offerings to be swapped

We drove to Utica for this event, titled the CNY Food Swap.  It was hosted by a wonderful woman I was glad to meet named Jenn Cackett.  There were about 11-12 people, from varying distances away.  Everyone brought items of their specialty, and we were all so glad to exchange for items we had not in our own pantries.  We all were introduced to different foods, and different people.  We nibbled and sampled, ooing and ahhing over the wonderful creations.

Oh, the conversations!

But mostly, we talked.  It was so refreshing to be amongst people who understood food the way we do: To view the Summer’s bounty as the Winter’ store, to be constantly thinking of how to keep the choices interesting, to create new flavor combinations to accommodate the changing offerings each year, and to rediscover the old, fading ways of not only keeping enough food to survive, but to downright flourish!  We are passing down the ancient treasures of foods made and kept to enjoy over the festive Holidays, and the warming comfort foods essential to keeping the home fires bright during the dim months of Winter and early Spring.  Few places can you engage in conversations about the bitter-sweet woes of being buried in sweet corn, or the intricate art of judging when your kimchi is finished, or of the satisfaction of knowing that your children can already tell quality food from the grocerystore’s offerings, and be surrounded by people who fully understand.  Such a gift!  The Energy we brought away was amazing, and we cannot wait to gather again.  The food I brought home was amazing, too, and my kids cannot wait until I go back.  They want to come along.  Could they already be craving this sort of camaraderie, being farm children embroiled in public school?  They must feel equally out-of-place as we sometimes do in today’s modern world.

The variety of choices was terrific!

Splendid Cookies and Brownies!

Likely one of the best experiences to bring back from the event, is that of being surrounded by moms who are making it work.  Who are making homemade=convenient.  Who have found out that finding the time to can pays off so much more-fold all winter.  In better food.  In healthier children.  In cost and time savings.  This is what is really needed to make a change in our society, where so many moms/parents are working, transporting their children to various events and commitments, and are left with so little time for meal-planning and preparation.  Helping each other find ways to make it work, changing old habits, and discovering how much better the food can be are what these food swaps are all   about.

Karen's Jams and my Honey

Learning to eat local, gather and put up your own food, and using if effectively and with diversity and interest can be daunting to undertake all at once!  So don’t go it alone.  Find your own friend, partner, or group to work with; either someone experienced or another newcomer such as yourself.  You can help each other, share new recipes and ideas, even go to classes together.   Attend local food swaps, or create on yourself.  And definitely pair up with a friend when it’s time to do the work.  Often canning involves large volumes of food, and the time spent peeling and prepping these foods goes by much faster with a partner to chit chat!

My kids testing everything out. Strait A's!!

CNY Harvest Swap is planning another event in January.  You can “like” CNY Harvest Swap’s facebook page to be kept up-to-date, and to see pictures from the event this past Sunday.

We hope to see you at the next gathering!  I can’t wait to see what you bring. 🙂

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Nancy Foster
    Nov 12, 2011 @ 22:15:57

    Shelly, you are so wonderful and I am so proud of you. Wish I could see you again.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,801 other followers

%d bloggers like this: