In the end, we weren't able to connect with the fresh corn, but I took her 10 pounds of fresh and home-preserved produce yesterday-- garlic bulbs, herbs, black bell peppers, a huge zucchini, tomatoes, carrots, chard, pickles and peach chutney, all packed in a mini picnic basket. (I'm kicking myself for not taking a picture, because it was gorgeous.)
Using garden produce and home preserves as gifts is an honored tradition of the crunchy set, but bartering for services goes back even farther. Paying the doctor with a chicken is a cliche of American mythology, and of course barter is the basis of the entire concept of commerce. We still barter in everyday life, because of our cultural decision to honor the collective delusion that paper money has value.
Most of my seeds this year were from barter too, otherwise known as seed swapping. It's THE best way to make new friends if you're a gardener. I think pretty much every new gardening friends I've made in the past two years (see my blog list!) I met through seed swapping.
What have you bartered your garden bounty for this year?
Homemade chocolate syrup
originally from The Tightwad Gazette via the blog Small Notebook for a Simple Home. Text is verbatim.
½ cup cocoa powder
1 cup water
2 cups sugar
⅛ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon vanilla
Mix the cocoa powder and the water in a saucepan. Heat and stir to dissolve the cocoa. Add the sugar, and stir to dissolve. Boil for 3 minutes over medium heat. Be careful not to let it get too hot and boil over! Add the salt and the vanilla. Let cool. Pour into a clean glass jar, and store in the refrigerator. Keeps for several months, but trust me it will be gone before then. Yields two cups.