Wednesday, 23 June 2021

Swaps go down a treat

FOOD swapping has started to take off in Henley with about 20 people meeting to exchange home-grown and home-made produce

FOOD swapping has started to take off in Henley with about 20 people meeting to exchange home-grown and home-made produce on Saturday.

They swapped goods ranging from fresh fruit and jams to bread, cakes and chocolate.

There were tasting samples of most of the produce and not a penny changed hands in any of the deals.

The event was the first Apples for Eggs food swap in the area and was held at the Barn Galleries in Aston.

Suri Poulos, who hosted the swap, said: “I came laden with a batch of gooseberry and elderflower jam, challah bread, hazelnut cinnamon brown sugar meringues, banana bread as well as some fresh gooseberries and mange touts from my garden.

“I left with my baskets heaving with wonderful homemade, home-grown foods from my fellow swappers — Greek basil plants, peanut, caramel and chocolate squares, damson and marrow jam, Seville orange marmalade, a handful of fresh herbs, red pepper jelly, artisan crusty bread, lemon barley water, plum jam, harissa, a chili plant, blackberry jam, sausages and a large slab of malted fruit loaf.”

She added: “I know my haul is all absolutely delicious, as well as lovingly homemade. We all had a wonderful time, the atmosphere was jolly, supportive and enthusiastic. We are all delighted with our swaps and plan to have more swaps in the future.”

The food swap was about two hours long, the first half hour was spent greeting, displaying produce, and setting up samples.

Swappers then perused the items on offer, tasted them and chatted with the exhibitor before submitting written bids for items on “swap cards”.

After an hour, an announcement was made and everyone headed back to their goods to see who expressed an interest before the bartering started and the swaps were finalised.

Maggie Atkinson, of Queen Street, Henley, said she attended because it is a “fabulous” idea.

She said: “I am sure it will really catch on. It is just so relevant at the moment as people are encouraged to do their own thing.

“The event had a brilliant community feel, you are not having to spend any money which brings people together with the same heart.”

Mrs Atkinson took with her some malt loaf and some white bread and she came away with meringues, currants, red pepper jelly and harrisa.

She said: “I am very anti-packaging that goes around everything as it can be a physcial fight to get into some packaging. You just rock up and you trust each other that it is made in their kitchen or wherever and I know I will be telling my friends about it so there will be a lot more at the next meeting.”

The group agreed to expand the swappable goods beyond food at the next meeting, which it hopes to hold in September.

In addition to homemade and home-grown produce, there will be pottery, knitting and crafts.

The first Apples for Eggs swap took place in Altrincham in 2011 when co-founder Vicky Swift found herself with surplus produce from her allotment and set up a face-to-face swapping event. From there, events have been held in York, Ormskirk.

For more information or to register for the Henley swap, visit

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