I’ve been fascinated by the idea of food swap ever since I first heard of it from Hip Girl’s Guide To Homemaking. The concept of bringing community together and sharing food from each other’s kitchen or garden has all the making of a feel-good evening reacquainting with old friends and making new ones. Yesterday was a big day in the Ontario food community with Foodstock happening out in Honeywood. With attendance over 30000, it seems everyone who’s involved with the food industry or concerned over our local food supply were there. Yesterday also happened to be the date of Leslieville Farmers’ Market Jar Swap hosted by Sarah B Hood, author of We Sure Can! and the writer behind Toronto Tasting Notes. As soon as I heard about the jar swap from Sarah’s twitter feed, I went downstairs to select jars of preserves I wanted to swap.
The scheduling conflict with Foodstock meant the market was rather quiet yesterday. I had a chance to chat leisurely with most of the vendors at length and Zack from Highmark Farms graciously introduced me to various market volunteers. Sarah set up a table and tent next to the market info station and we quickly chatted up a storm on all things canning and preserving-related.
The topic turned to her new book We Sure Can! and I was struck by how much the online preserving community contributed to the book. Sarah pointed out with excitement the photos of bloggers, their recipes, a comprehensive list of online canning resource, and all the fun she had researching for her book. Her passion and knowledge for the topic is unmistakable. This generosity in sharing is not unique to Sarah. In fact, that is one of the characteristics which defines the online canning community. This is the characteristic from which events such as jar swaps are born.
I brought four jars from my collection including red plum jam, Italian prune plum jam, yellow velvet plumcot jam with rosemary, and candied kumquats. Why so heavy on plums? Well, I sold most of my early season jams for the Athens To Atlanta Fundraiser. All those strawberries and cherries and apricots that I love are gone for good this year. Once I lined up all my plum jams though, I was amazed by the beauty of their colours. I never put them side to side since they were made at different times and I put them away once completed. Pretty colours make me happy.
At the jar swap I also met NutriSue. I’m always envious of people who harvest their own fruits and vegetable from their gardens. Plants, in general, do not survive under my care. Sue mentioned grapes and apples from recent harvests and what she made with them. Turns out we both want to experiment with making fruit butter using slow cooker. It’ll be fun to compare notes later in the season.
What I enjoyed the most at jar swap is to see the work of others. There were cranberry preserves, spiced yellow plum jam, apple sauce, chutneys. For myself, I picked a jar of Sumac Jelly and a jar of Strawberry Lemon Marmalade. I’m curious how the tart flavour of sumac unfolds in an apple jelly and of course I was drawn to the brilliantly red colour of the strawberry marmalade. I hope to attend more jar swap events this year. Good thing is the canning season is far from over. I have crab apple jelly to make and green tomato chutney to can and pear butter to experiment!