Monday, June 25, 2012

Port City Swappers

Earlier this week, our friend Sally told us about Port City Swappers, a new Wilmington group that planned to organize monthly events where people could bring things they've made, grown, or baked, and trade those items with each other. I'm a huge believer in the barter system and sharing with your neighbors, so this was right up my alley. I immediately signed up, spent Saturday baking bread, and at 2PM yesterday, showed up to the inaugural swap, ready to get my trade on.
My contributions.

I made vegan banana bread, and vegan jalapeno-onion cornbread, with jalapenos from my garden. Both recipes can be found my favorite cookbook, Veganomicon. I cut each loaf of banana bread in half, and I quartered the cornbread, which had been baked in a cast iron pan. This meant I could potentially make eight trades.

Port City Swappers, ready to trade.

The swap was originally going to be outside, but due to rain we were moved into a small building. It was basically a long rectangle, and we were pretty crowded, which made things a little difficult - especially in the beginning, when we didn't know exactly how the swap was going to work. Once it was explained to us, it became much easier to maneuver through the crowds and around the goods.

Items up for trade.

Nathan makes an offer for beer, naturally.

Basically, each person set their wares out on a table, and placed a sheet of paper in front of each item. Then we all walked around, looking at things, trying samples, enjoying the free refreshments up for grabs (lemonade, deviled eggs, fresh bread with dewberry jam). Once you saw something you wanted, you simply wrote down what you were willing to trade for it. After about a half an hour, we returned to our own tables, read what had been offered for our items, and then - if the trade sounded good - approached the person who had made the offer and sealed the deal. 

It sounds a little confusing, and it was, but we quickly got the hang of it. Towards the end of the swap, I made circles with my bread in my hand, offering trades to people in person. This seemed more effective than the paper system, though I think it was good to start out that way - it kept things somewhat organized, and gave everyone a chance to see what was up for grabs.

And what was up for grabs was amazing. I drooled over everything from baked goods, to homebrewed beer, to fresh eggs, to organic veggies and herbs, to homemade salsa and jams. There were also a ton of samples to taste, which meant that in addition to scoring some great items, I also got a free meal out of the event. This is always a plus in my world. 

And speaking of my haul, check out what my eight portions of bread yielded:

A pint of beer, a jar of coconut chutney, red potatoes, white cucumbers, elephant garlic, mango-peach salsa, and a bag of chocolate habanero peppers. Swaps will take place on the last Sunday of each month, and I'm already thinking of things to bring to the next one. 

Thanks to the organizers and all the people who participated this weekend! I had a great time, met some awesome people, and will be eating very well for the next two weeks. Swapping is the best!