The Barter Economy

What's the price of maple syrup? I'm not sure how much we're talking about in USD, since we haven't bought any in a few years, but we just traded some for four (!!) live lobsters (okay, so one was missing a claw, but still).

One of the doctors Kirk works with has a boat, and this spring he took a pint of this year's maple syrup in trade for the promise of summer fish. We were hoping for some blue fish, but with the season coming to an end, he hadn't gotten much of anything. So a couple nights ago he came to the door with a cooler full of lobsters from his traps. We kept them in a bowl in the mini fridge on the porch (no need to terrify the children), and tonight Kirk steamed them up:

I will admit that I have no interest in cracking open a lobster and fighting to dig out the meat, and Kirk did yeoman's work on picking all four of these. After putting the shells and legs into a pot with celery, carrots, onion and parsley to make some lobster stock for future soups, he used about half of the meat to make this pasta dish:

The lobster is served over pasta with a tomato cream sauce. To make the sauce, Kirk diced a red bell pepper and small onion and sautéed them in olive oil. Then he chopped and added two very ripe rose tomatoes, a dash of cayenne pepper flakes, plus some salt and pepper and let it cook down a bit. Finally, he added a cup of half and half and cooked it down over low heat to thicken. To serve, he stirred in chunks of lobster with a little fresh basil and served it over pasta.


This is not the first time we've gotten our hands on some great goodies by trading some of our garden wares. We've traded eggs for venison, tomatoes for herb salt, and maple syrup for firewood. I feel like we're totally making out in these deals, but maybe I'm just so used to the things we have that they don't seem that valuable. The doctor did declare that we had made the best maple syrup he'd had in his life, so I guess we're square.

As a general rule of living, I would much rather barter our produce and skills for things we need than work for money. It's so much more satisfying, and the value of your time and effort is much more immediately valued and rewarded. Money's just a weird middle man. 

Wanna trade? Whatcha got?


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