MPLS Swappers March Swap Recap
On Saturday we had the first meeting of the MPLS Swappers. It was a warm and sunny day, perfect for opening the windows, meeting new friends, and trying new foods.
Thirty of us gathered that sunny afternoon, our arms loaded with jars, bags, containers, and baskets. After dropping potluck contributions off at the snack table, Swappers continued on to the swap tables to set up their goods. Everyone brought multiple items, so the brightly covered tables filled up very quickly and we quickly expanded onto folding chairs and couches.
The Swappers filled out a bid form for each type of item they had to swap, which included the Swapper’s name, their item, how to eat it, any specific dietary needs it meets (gluten-free, vegan, nut-free, etc), as well as spaces for other Swappers to enter their bid. Everyone was encouraged to bring samples, if possible, so that the other Swappers could sample.
After everyone got settled in and set up, the real fun began. We explored everyone’s contributions, sampling and asking lots of questions, and bidding on items using the bid sheets. I loved seeing the way that everyone approached this process – some people kept lists and took notes, developing a strategy. Other people (like me) seemed so overwhelmed and excited by all the options that they bounced around sporadically, eating snacks and chatting between trying to squeeze their names on a bid sheet. Very quickly, the room full of strangers felt like a room full of old friends. There’s nothing like a shared passion for food to bring people together.
Hungry yet? This list is just a small taste of the lovingly prepared foods that made an appearance on Saturday:
- homemade dried pasta
- dried foraged mushrooms
- dried homegrown herbs
- homegrown Jerusalem artichokes and squashes
- Meyer Lemon Limoncello
- jalepeño garlic-infused vodka
- Guinness mustard
- lavender-infused honey
- gluten-free crackers and gluten-free muffins
- almond toffee candy
- sprouted buckwheat g”raw”nola
- maple syrup
- backyard eggs
- canned tomatoes, salsas, and tomato sauce
- pickled peppers
- pickled nasturtium seeds
- various sweet and savory jams, jellies, marmalades, and sauces
- raw sauerkraut and lacto-fermented pickles
- pomegranate green tea kombucha and starters
- handmixed herb and spice blends
- handmixed tea blends
- candied ginger
- pickled pineapple
- cheesecake bites
- and more!
Impressive, right? Especially when considering that we are at the tail end of winter and pantries are rather bare this time of year.
When it came time for the swaps to happen, each Swapper looked at the bids made on their items, then found the “winner” (via their name tag) to make the exchange. It was incredible to see the way that swaps happened organically, everyone figuring out how they wanted to trade with each other. Soon enough, everyone was walking around with armloads of their loot, gazing excitedly at their new pantry aquisitions.
In exchange for homemade spice and herb mixes, pickled peppers and pepper jams and jellies, gluten-free muffins, and pickled nasturtium seeds, I walked away with squashes, dried herbs, kombucha, chai tea mix, pumpkin maple butter, lavender honey, catnip cat toys, lacto-fermented pickles, and buckwheat g”raw”nola. Amazing!
Thanks to everyone who attended for making it a fun, positive, and inspiring event that truly exemplified kindness, generosity, and creativity. Also, a huge thanks to our friends at Madame for allowing us to use their space.
For more photos and write-ups, check out these two blog posts from other Swappers that attended Saturday’s event:
- “MPLS Swappers Inaugural Swap” on Trinknitty
- “Recap: MPLS Swappers Food Swap” on phonoMNal Twin Cities
- “The Inaugural Minneapolis Food Swap” on The Heavy Table
All things willing, MPLS Swappers food swaps will be held every other month. Stay tuned for the details on our next swap, which will be held in mid-May. Two months gives you lots of time to get together some fabulous items for swapping!