Dragon tofu, apple cider vinegar, beer, amaretto black cherries, lavender chai concentrate, and persimmon pulp were just some of the interesting items appearing at the February meeting of the Btown Food Swappers.
Just Swap It
The event was brought to Bloomington by organizer Erin Clark, who was inspired by the format of the Indy Food Swappers before deciding to bring them to Bloomington. “I love trying new things and also meeting people, so the food swap combined both of those,” Clark said. “After a few swaps in Indy I felt like it would be a great event to have here in Bloomington.”
The only requirement for the swap is that participants must bring something homemade, homegrown or foraged. Attendees can bring as much or as little of an item as they would like. They are also asked to label their items with ingredients and food preference labels, like vegan, gluten- or sugar-free.
“You don’t have to be an expert cook to come to a swap,” Clark said. “You don’t have to be and expert canner. You can bring anything that your heart desires and people will trade with you.”
Brent Kievit-Kylar, who has attended Btown Food Swaps before, brought marinated tofu and marzipan to the swap. He explains that before the swap officially begins, everyone wanders around the room tasting samples. “Then you write down your name on their sheet if that’s something that you’re interested in, and then you actually go into the swapping.”
Try Something New
Many attendees report that the social aspect of the swap is just as great as taking home interesting food. “Everyone’s really friendly and welcoming so there shouldn’t be any fear or anxiety about coming along,” said Charlotte Walker, who is at her third food swap.
She says food swaps encourage her to be more adventurous with her cooking. “So for instance, I would never do anything on my own accord about persimmon pulp, but it’s here so I might ask, what do you do with persimmon pulp, and learn something new and exciting.”