Fruits and Vegetables Used as Currency at Italian Restaurant

Diners barter with produce and household goods for meals at Florence, Italy, restaurant

L’è Maiala

How does trading a box of tomatoes for a fresh plate of spaghetti sound? Bartering for a meal at a restaurant may seem bizarre to some, but owner of L’è Maiala, a Tuscan restaurant in Florence, Italy, begs to differ.

L’è Maiala allows customers to barter using produce, wine, or other household items. In return, the chefs cook the edible items they receive along with other local produce and present them to diners, according to Reuters.

At L’è Maiala, owner Donella Faggioli focuses on sticking to Tuscan traditions, cooking up dishes such as Tuscan "pici" pasta with pork sauce.

The restaurant opened in Florence in late September to provide customers with a meal despite the current economic difficulties.

"We decided to open a restaurant, a gathering place for those who like to go out despite the crisis. Many cannot afford to go out to dinner in the evening and don't have enough money to last to the end of the month. So we decided to go back to the old barter system," said owner Donella Faggioli to Reuters.

Believe it or not, bartering systems have prevailed at other businesses in recent years. More than 400,000 companies globally earned approximately $12 billion in bartered possessions in 2011, according to the International Reciprocal Trade Association, which expects bartering to grow between 5 and 10 percent this year, according to CNBC.

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Tayler Stein is a Junior Writer at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @TaylerSteinTDM..