Our first food swap

Sunday we took the food from our harvest to our first food swap in downtown Los Angeles.

We registered for the swap about a month ago, and I’ve been eagerly waiting for it. When I found out about food swapping, through poking around on the internet, it was a new idea to me so I’m guessing it’s probably new to many of you also. The idea is that people bring food that is homemade, homegrown or foraged and trade with other people. The Food Swap Network is a great resource to find a swap in your area.

As I mentioned in my last post, our strategy was to bring a little bit of a lot of things and hopefully come back with items that we are unable or unwilling to make. We hoped that there would be a variety to pick from and that we’d come home with fun things to eat and cook.


David stood high on a ladder and picked a dozen avocados from the tree. We’ve used all of the lower ones, and the next ones that we pick will require an 8ft ladder plus the 8ft fruit picker (and David’s 6ft tall body). We’re getting to the end of our reserves on the tree. The new ones won’t be ready until fall; they are about two inches big right now (on both trees).


I printed out a bunch of cute labels I found online, grabbed some rafia from the closet, and packaged up our jars and cakes. I enjoy being crafty, and David is glad that I do because it made everything look much more attractive.

Being the type of person I am, I also included on the label the ingredients.


We only had enough fresh nasturtium pods to make one jar. These would be a precious commodity in our trading.


We also only had one jar of dilly beans. Most of our bean plants are not doing so well right now. The plan is to replant beans soon and hope for the best.

David and I packed our food into a cooler and large tupperware and headed to the store in downtown Los Angeles. We live about 15-20 minutes from most places, even downtown, although we’ve yet to explore much of it. We headed down the road they are building the new mixed zoning metro station, and into the Arts District.


City murals fascinate me and the area we were in had many. I would have loved to know the story behind this one, and the others in the area. After the swap we saw four men being filmed in front of this one, but couldn’t tell what was going on.

The LA food swap was at Poketo in the back of the store. The store had some fun items that I would have loved to buy, but I averted my eyes because I was at the swap to trade food and not spend money.

We arrived on time (impressive for not being sure of the LA traffic) and set up our table.
The way the swap works is that you have the first half hour to set up your display and greet each other.  The next hour is spent looking around.
People fill out slips of paper, expressing interest in swapping. We were delighted to find a variety of baked goods, drinks, oils, jellys, salsas and more.
David and I eagerly filled out papers, weighed our decisions, tasted samples and chit chatted with people. I wish we had more time (and the space for swapping was a little bigger) so we could have asked questions about how people made their goods. Perhaps there was enough time; we didn’t even think to ask about most of the items because we were a bit overwhelmed.


We were relieved to see that people filled out our papers.  The dill pickles had an overflow item on the back: bacon.  Yes, we took that trade.
The next half hour was the trading portion. We had a big selection and thankfully people came to us with what they wanted to trade.
The nasturtium pickles were the first to be traded for homemade kahlua! Then avocados for homemade honey (bees in residential areas of Los Angeles has been a long fought battle that is still going on) . The kombucha lady was excited to trade and dill pickles were more popular than we had thought!

This is what we came home with!  We did bring home two small chocolate zucchini breads and one large one, which we gave to our neighbors on the way out of the car.  I’ll go through the “harvest” in smaller pictures.


We traded for plum jam (short ball jar), smoked feta dip (short ball jar), “Heinz” style baked beans (tall ball jar) roasted red pepper ketchup (tall ball jar), kahlua, apricot-amaretto jam, grapefruit brulee jam with coconut honey and ginger.  The cayenne pepper was also brought with us as decoration.


We also got two bags of cheddar crackers, chili oil, two salsas, a dozen oranges and lots of Ball Jar rings and lids. We had just stocked up on jar rings and lids, but we can always use more lids. I have a busy summer planned in the kitchen.


Oh yes, there’s more to list!  We traded for  a jar of aprium- orange conserve with rum, walnuts and cardamom, two jars of honey, two packages of kumquats, granola, Garden Dew flavored kombucha (a bit vinegary, but good for us), two hummuses, chocolate cinnamon olive oil cookies, fresh mint and lavender bundle, fresh juice (beet, celery and apple), banana bread (with nuts) and a half dozen eggs. Some of these were last minute trades to get rid of the zucchini bread, which was great for us because all of it is better than zucchini bread.

I love zucchini bread, but still have shredded zucchini in the fridge and I’d prefer to make more than keep what we made.

P1020353And of course, there is the homecured and homesmoked bacon.  She had samples too.

We look forward to enjoying each and every item.  For dinner after the food swap we had hummus, salsa, feta dip and we’re researching recipes for kumquats and oranges. I highly recommend food swapping and bet you can find one, or set one up, near you!

Here’s a write up about the food swap from Poketo, if you want to see more pictures of the swap.





7 thoughts on “Our first food swap

  1. Hi. Just dropping by from the backyard farming connection. I’m glad you had fun at your first food swap. I’ve been going to food swaps with the Mile High Swappers for about 1 1/2 years now. I love that you can try so many new foods. Last summer I planned my garden my garden with food swapping in mind.

    • I’m glad other communities are into food swaps! I love the idea of planning the garden with swapping in mind! We also just decided we’re going to join a produce exchange. We often have more herbs, (mint, oregano, thyme and basil) than we know what to do with.

  2. So glad to read about your food swap. They have recently had a couple near us. Some won’t be so near. I would really like to find the time sometime when it is near to get some things made up and brave enough to do it! Looks interesting and fun! Nancy

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