WASHINGTON - Pickled cabbage, vegan paté and home-cured bacon decorated the tables in an Adams Morgan apartment last month like presents around a Christmas tree.
Home cooks and foodies mingled with amateur culinary types looking to trade in their newly made jam. Inspired by similar events throughout the country, this was the inaugural DC Food Swap.
"It's like a food barter event," says co-founder Tanya Fey. "Everyone walks out with a ton of amazing produce and homemade foods."
The concept is simple. People bring in homegrown, homemade or foraged foods and set up stands in the farmers market tradition. But instead of paying with cash, participants trade the items they brought in for new ones.
Organizers Jess Schreibstein, Claire Sadeghzadeh and Fey got the idea after noticing that D.C. was one of the few major cities without food swaps already in place. Filling out their debut event turned out to be much easier than anticipated, because the hunger was already there.
"D.C. has a really amazing food community, but there doesn't seem to be a lot of cross-pollination," Fey says.
Events like this one bring people together and "level the playing field" when it comes to food culture, Fey says. So if you're not a professional chef or avid foodie, you can still bring in your baked goods and leave with fresh herbs and locally grown garlic to try at home.
The goal is simply to "foster a feeling of community," something that other cities like Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and even Richmond have already mastered, Fey says.
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