'So many worlds, so much to do, so little done, such things to be'. (Tennyson)
Published February 12th 2014
Healthy food with plenty of heart
Once you've tasted produce that is fresh from the garden, it's hard to settle for food that has travelled from the other end of the state, country or world to our table. Ditto with homemade baking compared to mass-produced cardboard.
While we're spoilt for choice through our many farmer's markets, the cost of buying quality produce sure can add up. Luckily we have some dedicated foodies who have tapped into a growing global foodie trend - produce swapping. It's happening on our doorstep and we can all join in.
The concept is simple. Once a week, people gather for a produce swap. They bring whatever is growing in the garden, whatever has been cooking in their kitchen and whatever craftie items they've been producing. Then they check out what other people have brought with them. At an appointed hour the swapping starts.
In Adelaide this all happens at The Locavore, 1/49 Mt Barker Rd, Stirling, on the first Saturday of each month. Rock up by 3 pm, look around to see what produce you could use, and at around 3.15 the swapping will get underway. Swapping is usually a rapid- fire exercise, so you'll have plenty of your afternoon left for other things. Best of all, you won't have spent a cent, unless you hang around for a coffee with new friends you'll make.
What's great about a produce swap is the ideas and advice you can pick up. Perhaps someone's brought in something you've never cooked with, like quinces or an unusual herb. Chances are that they also have the perfect quince jelly or herb salad recipe.
What gets swapped will depend on what's seasonal of course. Expect fruit and veg ranging from root veg to salad greens, and from citrus to stone fruit. There are generally plenty of herbs to use fresh or dry our for later. A great feature is a seed bank to help you plant an heirloom vegie plot. Maybe people will bring cut flowers or seedling they have raised, fresh eggs or honey from their hives. Plus there may be an assortment of homemade goods, whether foodstuffs or non-edibles.
Grown from Produce Swap seed
If you don't have a garden and you'd like to be a swapper, take some home made jams, chutneys, slices - any of your family favourites. After your first visit, you may well be able to recycle some of what you collect into goods to trade the following month. If you are bringing baked goods or preserves, do make sure that you list all of the ingredients: that is the only 'rule' of the Produce Swap, and it's for good reason in this age of allergies and food intolerances.
The Adelaide Hills Produce Swap, is a relatively new undertaking, in just its second year, and long may it live. There are no memberships required, just bring something to swap. As the organisers say, bring your spirit of generosity and community, plus a big bag to carry off your booty.
You can't sawp your children... but they'll get a kick out of swapping produce'.