Wednesday, June 8, 2011


So, early in April I saw a notice somewhere that GOOD Magazine was having an event in Atwater Village to celebrate the kick-off of GOOD L.A. I also learned that there would be something called a "food swap" at that event and you could bring food to swap with other people. Having recently canned about 80 jars of marmalade from my brother's mini orange orchard, I happened to have some swappable items. I brought 6 jars.

I went home with some home-baked sourdough, some other jam and a few things that I probably snacked on in the car on the way home, but ultimately, I came home inspired.

I also came home with a postcard for an event called Artisanal L.A. at the new Santa Monica Place, and Emily Ho, of the Kitchn and the L.A. Food Swap would be having a workshop. I tend not to travel over the hill during the weekend, but this was worth it, and by the end of the workshop, I had committed to a swap in the SFV (San Fernando Valley, for those of you who are not from 'round here).
Made this sign from a scrap of wood in the garage.

This past weekend was the first San Fernando Valley Food Swap, held in my living room and what a HUGE success. We had 20 people signed up and they all showed. We also had a reporter from the Eat Real Festival which is happening in Culver City this July 16-17.  Unfortunately, I'll be in the Napa/Santa Rosa area that weekend and am a little bummed that I can't make it.

I hosted it in my home and while I LOVE opening my home to people, these were primarily complete strangers! It worked out beautifully.  Everyone was very respectful and it felt kind of old-timey. Two people brought their parents and three people brought their kids. Everyone was super nice and easy going. I never felt like anyone was disappointed with the event.

To swap, people brought homemade maraschino cherries, can breads, cookies, muffins, cake pops, marinades, chocolate covered stuff, salsas and more. Also present were homegrown lemons, rosemary, and pink peppers.   Here are some photos of the items!

I still had marmalades from the Great Orange Harvest of 2011 and I had jarred about 24 cans of apricot jam from my sister's tree, not to mention the somewhat-not-as-great Loquat Harvest of 2011, I had already canned more than 120 jars of jam, marmalade and jelly.  I had also already given away about 2/3rds of it, but clearly I had more to swap.
As you can see from the photos, people brought samples of their wares. It was quite fun to go around and taste everything before you sign up. The marinade was delish and the Mr. tasted some before he rode off into the noonday sun and said something about "definitely getting one of those...."

Ultimately, it was a real community event, where people who wouldn't necessarily meet, came, interacted, oohed and aahed over each others offerings and went away, if I may say so, pretty happy.

I'm definitely doing it again. I may make some new guidelines for the next swap though. While I love baked goods, and really, who doesn't, I would like to have a more sustainable swap. I'm not sure how to go about it but I think I'd like to encourage people to bring more home grown/pantry or refrigerator stable items like fruit, eggs, honey, herbs, veggies, marinades, rubs, jams (of course), spices, sauces and such.We'll see...

All photos courtesy of Emily Ho and Gregory Han


  1. Love it! I definitely want to come to the next one, and I'll bring jam and preserves.