The Art of Barter

Food Swapping at Wyck Historic House, Garden and Farm

Peggy Paul, Farmstand Staff
Philly Food Swap at Wyck House

Cooking and socializing are two of my absolute favorite activities. So, naturally, when I heard about Philly Food Swap - "where your homemade creations (breads, preserves, special concoctions, canned goods, etc.) become your own personal currency for use in swapping with other participants" - I knew I had to get involved.

First, I studied the rules: bring at least ten individually packaged and labeled items that you made, grew, or foraged yourself and swap them for handcrafted goodies made by other Philly-area foodies. And for my very first event, held last night at the Wyck Historic House, Garden & Farm in Philly's Germantown neighbPeggy's Currencyorhood, I settled on the "food currency" of caramel pudding, wheat berry salad, and pickled carrots and ginger. Fellow Fair Food swapper Anne Steelman brought celery salt, sauerkraut, harissa carrots, and strawberry jam, and Alex Jones brought cucumber kimchi, pick  led radish pods, and dehydrated garlic scapes.

Even as it began to rain, all thirty-five or forty participants unflinchingly displayed their items on folding tables on the lawn next to Wyck's 300-year-old working farm, and they showed no signs of defeat as the rain continued, off and on, for the duration of the event. In the end, I traded my "currency" for a bag of mint tea, a container of Peggy's Lootcucumber kimchi, a package of pound cake, and one jar each of mulberry and strawberry jams, Vietnamese pickled vegetables, white bean hummus, lemon basil syrup, homemade mustard, and radish relish.

In response to a growing trend in food swap events throughout the country, Philly Swappers was formed in 2011 by Amanda Feifer, blogger at phickle.com; Marisa McClellan, author of Food in Jars and blogger at foodinjars.com; and Georgia Kirkpatrick, blogger at kitchensuccess.blogspot.com. For more information and updates about future events, connect with Philly Swappers on Facebook or follow them on Twitter (@PHLFoodSwap).