Lindsay, over at The Lean Green Bean started this penpal exchange program a few years ago, and apparently it has just taken off. Basically, you sign up by the 4th of every month. Then Lindsay randomly matches you with another participant. You email back and forth with that person to find out likes, dislikes, allergies, etc. Then you go foodie shopping! The spending limit is $15, although I will admit that I went over that. Ok by me, I wanted to send good stuff!
You have to postmark your box by the 15th, and let your penpal know when you've received their box. It's up to you to figure out the best/cheapest way to mail your box. I just sent mine priority since it came with tracking and delivery confirmation. Important! Then anyone with a blog waits to post about it until the 30th of the month. This isn't an automatic renewal type of program, so if you want to keep doing it, you have to remember to sign up for the next month again.
This was my first month, and I was paired with veteran foodie penpal-er Gigi from Texas. She sounds like so much fun, and a real foodie at heart! I sent her a box full of Minnesota-made goodies, and she reciprocated with a box full of Texas love! Wanna see?
I opened the box to find these fun post cards. The "Kisses from Texas" is for Emily, and the San Antonio card had a description of each item.
2. Alamo Crackers - shortbread cookies: how fun!
3. Wild West Cookies - cinnamon graham cookies in "wild west" shapes.
4. Minestrone Soup Mix
5. Italian Seasoning Mix
6. Hawaiian Nut mix - seriously so good! I could not stop eating this!
7. Garlic chips - basically dried garlic cloves in some kind of seasoning. I was a little doubtful about these to begin with, but they are quite tasty!
8. Green bean chips - the same as the garlic chips, but these are a little sweet too. Travis and I love them!
9. A cedar grilling plank. How awesome is that?!
Gigi also included a few pamphlets about things to do in San Antonio, including a map of all the wineries. Yes please! Perhaps I will have to schedule a trip there sometime soon?
The downside of Foodie Penpals is that you can get an unresponsive match. My first penpal didn't email me back right away, so I was rematched with Gigi. Apparently the same thing happened to her. Then my first penpal finally did email me. I figured two would be twice the fun, so I chatted with her and sent her a box as well. She said she sent my box on the 15th, but it never showed up. :( Majorly disappointed!
In any case, I will do this again. It was so fun, and I'm loving all the little treats!
Have you heard of Foodie Penpals? Is this something you'd consider doing?