But for me, more importantly is that I don't want a job as a brewer, it's too much work and besides, it's not about making money. I'm content to keep my brewing at the level of hobby. To brew for the enjoyment of the process and take pleasure in the results of my efforts. To share with family and friends and gain the satisfaction of seeing the delight that crosses their surprised faces when they ask 'Is this really home made?' But man does not live on
The question then becomes, where can I find these community minded people that produce local food and also would be willing to trade for homemade beer. Oh yeah, the farmers market a few blocks up the street.
|Local food to be had|
I figured hey, these are hard working people who can appreciate a well made and hand crafted food product. Not to mention, we share similar passions, but where I'm pulled to brew beer they venture just as enthusiastically in a different direction. They may be producing honey from their own hives in the back yard or raising grass fed beef, growing organic vegetables on a few acres near their home. How about fresh fish caught that morning from the bay that I can see from the market parking lot, talk about local. If this trading plan were to work out, the list of possibilities for food is endless, sausage, eggs, chicken, beef, veggies of all kinds, jams, nuts.
My plan was simple, bottle up a variety of ales from my kegerator. Fill up a cooler with said beer and wander through the booths on Saturday. I'd size up the vendors and their product for a good match to trade and offer them a sample beer or two to take home to try out. Then, follow up the next week to see if they have any interest. They did.
At this point in time I have a weekly trade going on with the producers of a selection of excellent small batch cheeses produced at a family farmstead that has been in the dairy business for generations. These artisan cheeses are by far some of the best I've had. This family business that started as a cheese making hobby a couple of years ago now produces one to two hundred pounds of cheese a week.
The other vendor that I trade with has fresh fish out of Santa Cruz. This is a company that only sells at farmers markets and specializes in sustainable seafood focusing mostly on line-caught local species. They also have some exotics like Ahi which I had last week which I rolled in sesame seeds and pan seared to lay over rice, yum!
I've still got my feelers out for some red meat but it's just a matter of time. Besides the meat, I was thinking that trading for honey might be a good match. I could then use this local honey to brew a honey ale of some sort. A little icing on the cake so to speak, icing is always nice. Then I could trade the honey beer back to the honey vendor to show them how their product can be utilized in my product. Ooh, a win, win, win.
Suffice to say that there are no limits to how far this could go to supplement my diet with needed protein, without having to sell beer to make money in order to buy food.
If you're in the habit of producing more beer than you can consume, like me, I would recommend you form your own food connections in your area as well, I would encourage it. The only requirement is quality homebrew. Everyone likes good beer and food.
Do you trade beer for food? Tell us about it in the comment section below. Let's help each other get back to the basics of local bartering for a healthy community.