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Published February 7th 2016
You Won't Believe The Varied Things You Can Swap - Yum
So many times I hear people say that they do not have enough produce to join in on a food swap, but your local fruit and veggie swaps are more than just swapping an orchard full of produce.
The local food connect run swaps in many locations and I decided to head on down to the one in Warrandyte last weekend.
Lovely, Friendly Locals at the Warrandyte Food Swap. *Image Copyright Lesley Mitchell
A bonus of this food swap is that it is held on the first Saturday of every month at the same time as the wonderful Warrandyte Market so you can go to the local food swap in the morning and continue on to the market and make a lovely day of it.
Last time we did a food swap we had a garden full of roses, rocquette and lemons. Alas this time I had been away for months, it was mid summer, most of my garden was dead and virtually nothing abundant existed. However the chooks were laying and I collected up some spare eggs, there were still a few potatoes left over from our minimal harvest and a sparse 2 oranges on the tree. "Oh well", I thought, "lets collect up these and see what it's like".
You can almost feel the freshness bursting out of the produce. *Image Copyright Lesley Mitchell
The food swap is held in the beautiful Community Gardens in a peaceful rotunda and arriving, I was so warmly welcomed by the food swap community people that were there that I felt like we were long lost friends I offered them my basket full of minimal produce that I had brought with me and they eagerly took it off my hands and popped out on display inviting me to take whatever I would like in exchange.
The beautiful setting of the Warrandyte Community Gardens. *Image Copyright Lesley Mitchell
I certainly did not feel that my meager offerings were not enough and they thanked me profusely for coming and bringing anything, I felt quite pleased I had made the effort.
All you need to do is come along with your contributions and place them in the rotunda, have a chat with the locals and look at all of the different things that you are welcome to take in exchange, there is no money involved with anything, nothing to sign or purchase and you do not have to pay any membership fees.
Many different items to swap including seeds, recipes and baked items. *Image Copyright Lesley Mitchell
As mentioned, my meager offerings included a dozen eggs, a couple of potatoes and 2 oranges I had picked from the tree on my way out but if you don't have any produce you could also share things you had collected, like glass jars for people to make jam in, perhaps you could make a cake, or some biscuits or perhaps even a pile of gardening magazines.
On the table as I entered there was a selection of seeds including Heirloom Seeds ready to get your garden off the ground.
If you really have absolutely nothing to swap you are still welcome to come along, just for inspiration or take some things and perhaps bring some more back the following month.
Little ones enjoying nature in the gardens. *Image Copyright Lesley Mitchell
I was inspired whilst I was there by chatting to the locals as to what I could do for the next month and I developed quite a degree of determination by the time I left to get my garden going, with some great advice for things that would grow well in the local area.
If you want to take something along but really haven't collected anything you may like to write or print out some recipes that you have tried and tested or perhaps some garden goodies like coffee grounds or worms. Other ideas include home-made preservatives jams, relishes, pickles, baked items and bottles.
The Warrandyte local fruit and veggie swap occurs every month on the first Saturday of the month near the river bank of the Community Gardens at the back of the Warrandyte Police Station and they would really love to share with more people each month, get a few of your friends together, spread the word and come along each month.
As well as being inspired to join in at the next month, I left with some great apple jelly, fresh eggplants, wonderful fruit and vegetables for dinner.
I exchanged my offerings for this lovely basket of produce. Enjoyed with deep gratitude that evening. *Image Copyright Lesley Mitchell
You can find some more information online, you can even sign up for the weekly newsletter.
Have you been to a food swap?
What did you take? What other great ideas do you have for things you could take a long to swap? We would love to hear from you. Please add your thoughts in the "comments" section at the top of this article to share with us.