My neighborhood! Love the Casbah :)
On the tables were colorful knots of beet fettuccine noodles, pickled cauliflower, and locally foraged pink pepper. There were jars of rose jelly, blood orange shrub syrup, homemade harissa, even small-batch olive oil. Are these the eclectic offerings of some hidden ethnic grocery? An epicurean mail-order catalog? A clandestine supper club?
This is a Los Angeles food swap, where a cornucopia of edibles are picked, prepared, and packaged in nearby kitchens, backyards and sidewalks, and exchanged at a lively, free marketplace between likeminded locals.“People have been doing this for centuries,” says Emily Ho, who started this particular L.A. food swap community. But recently, a wave of swaps organized via Facebook and Twitter has been sweeping the nation. Now there are six ongoing swaps in the Los Angeles area from Pasadena to North Hollywood, where in any given month you might find vanilla-infused whiskey being traded for Sriracha-flavored salt, or cherry balsamic vinegar for spicy homemade kimchi.
At last month’s swap, held at the crafty Silver Lake boutique ReForm School, about 30 swappers splayed their goods across tables, offering samples and sharing recipes. Each swap is different based on what’s in season—March, for some reason, is good for marmalades, says Ho—or emerging food trends (currently, making homemade bitters is hot). The environment is made even more festive by the swappers’ marketing efforts. “L.A. gets really into its packaging,” says Ho, pointing to the colorful fabrics and letterpressed labels that decorated the boxes, bottles and jars.
Read more - and see more great photos - here!