A long time ago, I participated in a holiday season, blogger gift-exchange called a scarf swap. It’s how I first ‘met’ Sarah, and I’ve adored her ever since. A few month’s later, I joined in on Ashley‘s Be My Blog Valentine gift exchange, and years later Ashley and I became roommates for a little while in Boulder, Colorado. Recently, I discovered a Foodie PenPal gift exchange thanks to Lacey, and couldn’t resist something that would not only introduce me to new bloggers, but would mean getting tasty treats in the mail. YAY FOOD!
That’s exactly what happened, and I was on the receiving end of Amy‘s foodie box, and sent a package of Pacific Northwest goods to Dana in Michigan. I enjoyed it so much that I’ve already signed up for next month’s, so I’ll be doing this again and if you like food and making new friends — I highly encourage you participate in this as well, especially if you’re a blogger and want to meet other bloggers and get your blog out there to a new audience.
What is Foodie PenPal?
Foodie PenPal is a program started by Lindsay at The Lean Green Bean in September 2011. I learned about this from Lacey’s blog, and the basic idea is this: sign up and get matched with another participant (it’s not just bloggers!). Then, you ship your PenPal a small foodie box.
From Portland, With Pacific Northwest-Flavored Love
There’s a $15 spending limit, and I made sure to pick things for Dana that were Pacific Northwest staples. For instance, I sent a jar of fig preserves from Seattle’s Pike Place Market, Chocolate-Covered Hazeluts from Freddy Guys Hazelnuts, which I picked up at the Portland Farmers Market, and an oil + vinegar sampler from my favorite local oil + vinegar shop, Benessere.
The Trader Joe’s Fairies Came to North Portland
I wish I’d snapped a photo of the box that Amy sent me (because the packaging was super cute!), but I was in the middle of a giant kitchen clean-out when I received it, so everything got pretty quickly mixed in with the stuff I was sorting through. Anyway, here’s what I received. It was like the Trader Joe’s fairies showed up at my house!
Mrs. Renfro’s Chipotle Corn Salsa, Jalapeño Jack Pretzel Crisps, Fudge Brownie Mix, Wasabi Almonds, and Justin’s Nut Butter (LOVE it). Amy recommended putting the Justin’s Nut Butter on top of the warm and gooey brownies. I think that’s BRILLIANT.
Foodie PenPal Details, if you’re interested in participating!
- On the 5th of the month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
- You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal!
- The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15. The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!
- You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)
- Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you can choose to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month.
- Foodie Penpals is open to US, Canadian residents & UK residents. Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. Things might get too slow and backed up if we’re trying to send foods through customs across the border from US to Canada and vice versa. So, two separate lists will match US with US and Canada with Canada!
*If you’re in the UK, please contact Carol Anne from This Is Rock Salt at firstname.lastname@example.org to get involved!*
To all those who keep tabs on my Fairy Blogmother tips and guides, I totally believe that getting involved in swaps and exchanges like this is an EXCELLENT way for new bloggers to quickly make blog friends and for established bloggers (veterans like myself, ha) to continue to meet new friends, extend your blog’s audience, and have a whole lot of fun in the process.
Have you ever participated in some sort of bloggers’ gift exchange? Who did you meet?