Belated Happy New Year to you for 2015! It’s been a while since I posted, I know. 2014 wasn’t the fun year it initially promised to be for personal reasons and I haven’t felt moved to post anything here for a while because of that – but 2015 looks to be a brighter year. I plan to be doing some more regular blogging and hopefully giving the site a bit of a revamp too soon, so watch this space.
I just wanted to tell you about something cool that Doug started getting involved with last year – the newly launched Hertford Food Swap. This is a fantastic small but perfectly formed event that takes place each month now, organised by local mushroom fancier and all round good egg, Simon Gladding. If you’re a local and fancy going, the Facebook page is here.
Every first Saturday of the month a growing group of enthusiasts congregate in the upstairs room of the Mudlark café in Hertford, where people bring various items of delicious home-made produce – from garden-laid eggs to jams, cakes and even speciality breads and foraged mushrooms.
Unsurprisingly, Doug has been a regular contributor of his Sweetpea Salad bags – even over the winter months thanks to his greenhouse plot in the back garden, which is still going great guns.
We even managed to bring along some eggs ourselves last weekend as our two new Orpington hens, brought home in August, have finally got their act together and started laying. I’ll tell you more about them soon when I’ve managed to take some decent photos of the pair of them. Missy is still with us but isn’t laying at the moment – just bossing the other two around.
But anyway, the idea of the swap is that you bring along various items that amount to the common bartering currency, which in this case is a box of six free-range eggs – so worth around £1.50. Everyone has a form and then they wander around the room, looking at the items and signing up for the things they’d like to swap.
According to Simon’s website, the idea started in Brooklyn in the USA and has since taken off. There is also a local one in St Alban’s, not far from us.
It’s great fun and a great way to get your excess produce off your hands, especially in the summer if you have extra fruit and veg you don’t need or jams and beers, and there are some fantastic people who come along. We’ve got beer makers (Pookie in the red t-shirt below, among others), fudge producers (Emma), growers, chutney and chilli sauce makers, would-be bee keepers and cordial makers (Auntie Toria), and even Marcus who has got so into his bread-making that he recently ordered his own supply of French flour just to get it right.
It’s truly heartening to get to rub shoulders with so many enthusiasts of the good life. I’m just going to have to stop riding on Doug’s shirt-tails and make some of my own stuff to bring along soon!
Do you have a local food swap or do you swap produce with friends? I’d love to hear about it. Leave a message and let me know.