Crop Swap blooms into second year

Co-ordinator Nita Smith (pictured here in red shirt): “It’s as much about having a coffee and a yarn as it is about trading produce.”

The Cromwell Crop Swap kicked off its second season last month at its new location in the Cromwell Heritage Precinct. The Saturday morning market, where locals are invited to bring any extra produce they might have to the sharing table, will run every three weeks until March. 

Crop Swapping brings together backyard gardeners, home bakers and food foragers for swapping and sharing high quality local food on a regular basis, and is popular throughout New Zealand. 

The gathering was established in Cromwell last year by not-for-profit community organisation Connect Cromwell and, after a successful first year, is now being coordinated by Nita Smith, a Cromwell mum with a passion for growing vegetables, sustainability and getting the community together.

Herbs, vegetables, fruit, home-baked bread, eggs, kombucha, chutney and even the occasional chicken are all traded, with any surplus after the event being donated to local businesses or the Community Pantry. 

Smith said that, despite it being so early in the season for produce, the first swap event at the end of October had seen a good turnout. “It was surprising what people had to bring,” she said.

But it’s not just an event for seasoned growers. Crop Swappers also share local gardening tips and recipes - and anyone is welcome, no matter how large or small their offering to trade.

“It’s as much about having a coffee and a yarn as it is about trading produce,” said Smith.

The next event will be held this Saturday at 10:30am in the Cromwell Heritage Precinct. Visit the Connect Cromwell website for more information. 

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