Vegan Food Swap Reveal! October 2012 edition

Typically, Vegan Food Swap reveals are posted on the last day of the month in which the swap occurred. I broke my own rule for this, the final swap of 2012, by slacking off and waiting to post the reveal two weeks late. Why? No special reason. Just life. We've all been there, right?

First off, I'd like to thank everyone who participated in the Vegan Food Swap in 2012. It was an amazing project, which I began in April, and I had no idea how popular it would become. I'm grateful to everyone who jumped in enthusiastically and stuck with the swap month after month. As the swap participants know, I've decided not to organize a swap for November and December because people will be pretty busy with end of year holidays and, frankly, organizing the swap is a lot of work and I could use a break as well. We'll start back up again in January, so feel free to register now.

My swap partner for October was Alan of The Classy Scavenger. I was excited to be paired with a member of the male minority of the Vegan Food Swap, but also because I already knew of Alan. I started following him on Instagram a while back because he's buds with Sam of The Nail That Sticks Up, who I met at Vida Vegan Con in 2011. It's a small world thing. (Also, they're also both total vegan eye candy... Did I say that out loud?)

So, I knew that Alan gets a portion of his "groceries" from places like dumpsters and salvage grocery stores. I realize that some people might think it's "gross" but I think it's true that one man's trash is another's treasure and, honestly, few things upset me more than wasted food. And many people don't realize how much food is thrown away in this country, especially by grocery stores, that is still perfectly good. This happens with produce just as much as with packaged food. Sometimes, a store just has too much stock. Other times, they dump product because it's been discontinued and the distributor isn't willing to pay to take it back. Obviously, some produce is thrown out because it's started to turn or rot, but I was amazed when I first learned that the rotten stuff makes for a pretty small percentage of the food "garbage" in the US.

I know you're all wondering, now, about what Alan sent to me in the Vegan Food Swap box! I did let him know at the beginning that I had no problem with dumpstered or salvaged foods, and gave him free license to send me whatever he wanted. Ultimately, Alan settled on a fantastic combination of packaged items from the salvage grocery, local vegan wings, and some scones that he made from dumpstered ingredients. Because Alan shopped thriftily for my package, he was able to include a LOT of different products without blowing the $20 spending limit. It's awesome to see how far a vegan dollar can stretch, if you know where to shop.

Here's the proof:

This doesn't even show everything. The vegan wings are still in the freezer! (Yes, those are vegan cupcakes in the background, waiting to be frosted.)

A selection of snacky items, including two kinds of kale chips and my favorite teriyaki sprouted sunflower seeds!

Yes, this bag is empty. I may have ripped it open as soon as I saw it. 

Some Asian sweets. I can't wait to try these!

Rice stick snacks.

A selection of Hail Merry goodies... the lemon thyme pecans are my favorite! (Yes, the almonds were consumed first.)

From savory on to sweet... Some chocolatey goodies and some carob nut butter cups. 

Fine ground black salt for vegan omelets! 

Go Raw is one of my other favorite brands. 

Alan sent several homemade scones (and posted the method here).

Vegan wings made locally in Indiana. These were frozen, so Alan carefully packaged them with a cold pack! I wouldn't normally suggest sending frozen goods, but since we are only 1 state away and he used USPS Priority Mail, we decided it might work. Luckily, the weather was pretty chilly also, so they arrived still frozen! 
I'm really enjoying my explorations through the goodies Alan sent to me, but more importantly, I hope that this helps to illustrate how it can be possibly to eat some really amazing treats without breaking your bank. Maybe you're not adventurous enough to go dumpstering yourself, but many areas have salvage or discount grocery stores that carry all sorts of vegan foods. You can end up saving a ton of money just because a manufacturer decided to redesign their packaging, or discontinue an item that wasn't selling enough, or by buying discounted products that are close to their stamped expiration dates (which I think we can all agree are pretty much irrelevant).

Thanks again to Alan for this amazing swap package!

If you want to participate in the Vegan Food Swap in 2013, we'll start again in January. You can sign up now through January 5 by filling out the registration form here.

For those who swapped in October, please link up your reveal posts below:

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