Last month I was finally able to attend my first BK Swappers’s event. I learned about BK Swappers last fall from my friend who blogs over at Becoming Brooklyn. But Fall was busy, and then came Christmas…finally when BK Swappers announced their January meetup, I RSVPed immediately. Then proceeded to panic for the next two weeks about which of my goodies were even worthy enough to debut at such an event.
The basic idea is whip up a bunch of homemade goodies–jams, breads, bitters, alcohol, baked goods, backyard eggs…–bring them to a designated site with like minded foodies, talk, socialize and trade, then head home with all your new goodies. Swappers are encouraged to bring 5-10 items to swap. Trades are generally one to one, so 1 jar of jam for a small box of cookies or a jar of bitters. The idea is you walk out with as many items as you walked in with.
Aside from my friend’s intro to the group, I also came across its NY Times write up which only increased the level of anxiety. Suddenly my jars of jams and butters seemed far inferior to green curry paste, home grown herbal teas and buddha hand vodka (which I did actually have, but was in no way willing to part with). I made a few jars of caramel sauce and included a jar of vanilla sea salt for extra insurance.
I timidly entered Dabney Lee (which by the way is the CUTEST little stationery shop I’ve ever seen–VISIT!) in Dumbo, the swap location that month, with no idea what I was doing. I was instructed to set my items out on a small space of table that was left and fill out my bid cards. These cards were to include item names, descriptions, ingredients, how to serve and any other instructions that were important, like “keep refrigerated”. There was space on the cards for other swappers to bid with an exchange of their own.
Just as Debbie described in her NY Times article, the bid cards were mainly for show. Nothing written on these cards were binding, it was more of an idea to learn who else was interested in your items. Everyone wore name tags so bidders were easy to find. You were encouraged to wander around the room, make bids of your own and learn about your
competition fellow swappers.
When the bidding actually did start, about an hour into the event, it became a total free for all. In less than 5 minutes I had already swapped 9 of my ten items for tasty treats like tea, tomato jam, lemoncello and (the very coveted) key lime pie fudge. The jams sold and are always popular, as one veteran swapper mentioned. And when I checked my bid sheet, the caramel sauce had more bids than most. Strangely, my extra insurance, my vanilla sea salt that I thought would make a huge bang, was the least popular item.
BK Swappers generally runs an event every other month. The next one is rumored to be in late March, so be sure to follow them on Facebook to stay in the know. Maybe I’ll see you there!
- Lemon Coconut White Chocolate Cookies (bklynlocavore.com)
- Brooklyn Locavore Approved: Talde (bklynlocavore.com)
- Lentil White Bean Soup (bklynlocavore.com)