The Capital Region has seen the birth of a great new trend in the form of food swaps, as organized by the people at the From Scratch Club website. From Scratch Club is a local blog and website that is dedicated to sharing info and tips about local food, recipes and the people who supply and make them. Food swaps are a get-together where everyone brings something they’ve made, and shares it with other home cooks. I finally made it to one this summer, and both my daughter and I had a great time, and came away with new friends, and some delicious treats.
I have to admit, though I’m an old hand at home cooking and preserving, I was a little intimidated at being a newbie at the swap. No need to fear, however, as From Scratch Club founder Christina had things well in hand, and kept everything on track and made sure that all us new swappers were filled in. It was nice to meet Christina in person, as I had only “met” her online when I did some guest posts in From Scratch Club’s Community Voices feature.
Food Swaps Are Fun, and Accessible
Food swaps are free to attend, and are held twice per month, in Schenectady and Troy respectively. We attended in Troy, at the Oakwood Community Center, and traded my Drunk Apricot Jam, Morello Cherry Jelly and Morello Cherry Jams for a terrific variety of stuff – a boatload of fresh sage, toom (a Lebanese condiment like a mayo, but made with garlic, oil and lemon only – unbelievably delicious!) mixed berry jam, pickled jalapeños and onions (OMG), and peach salsa (consumed in seconds by ravening hordes in the household).
If you’ve ever considered checking it out, but aren’t sure you want to do a full-fledged swap, there are also a number of “swap curious” tickets to every event that allow admittance, but don’t expect you to bring food and participate in the swapping. It’s a good way to get a feel for the crowd with less commitment. This past swap also featured Marissa McClellan, author of the canning blog and book both titled Food in Jars: Preserving in Small Batches Year-Round who gave a great talk, shared recipes and tips and signed copies of her book. Past swaps have featured other cookbook authors, like Alana Chernila author of The Homemade Pantry: 101 Foods You Can Stop Buying and Start Making, who blogs at Eating From the Ground Up.
On the From Scratch Club website, you’ll find the swap info and calendar with signup link, along with a monthly podcast, an online food-focused book club and the FSC Academy, which are classes taught by From Scratch Club contributors. FSC Academy classes are on everything DIY in the kitchen, from home dairy, to canning, to making your own bacon. I just took the bacon class, and which will be the subject of another post as it was so awesome it needed it’s own spotlight!
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Gina Martin | lives in Coxsackie NY with her husband, their two children, and an assortment of Rottweilers and cats. Gina has been a homeschooling parent since 2003, and is also proud parent of a Tech Valley High School student. Gina is the creator of ModSchooler, her blog about 21st -century learning and fun, and is a contributor to From Scratch Club writing on food and food policy. As lifelong learners, Gina and her tween and teen kids like to go off the beaten path to explore quirky travel destinations, unusual cuisine, and all things geeky. Email: GinaMartin@AlbanyKid.com, twitter: @GinaMartinBlogs