Introducing Kate – Volunteer of the Year 2016

We were proud to award Kate our Volunteer of the Year earlier this year at the AGM. She’s one of our Monday morning crew and we were delighted to catch her for a chat.

Why did you decide to volunteer?

I decided to volunteer at Dig-in because the shop had opened while we were overseas for 2 years with my husband’s job and it was a new local venture that I wanted to support as I believed in what they were trying to do.

What do you like about Dig-In?

I like the variety. Working with old and new volunteers of different ages and different nationalities; welcoming new customers as well as regulars; hearing positive feedback from customers; finding out what’s new whether it’s new stock or new initiatives – almost from week to week it seems that nothing stays the same!

What does a typical day at Dig-In involve?

I’ve been opening the shop up on Monday mornings for a few months now so first I have to get the spare key from our kind neighbours at The Chocolate Tree who are usually beginning to get their shop ready for the day too.

Having squeezed into Dig-in past the barrow left in the shop from closing on Saturday and having managed to avoid falling over the numerous boxes of fresh produce left by George Anderson at heaven knows what unearthly hour, it’s a matter of getting the lights on and getting started. The volunteer I’m working with at the moment, Pacian, gets the awning down and the barrow outside once we’ve checked the produce in it and we then have more room to move!

We do a thorough check of the fresh produce to make sure there’s nothing in the boxes that has gone off since Saturday and then start re-filling, first from what’s downstairs and then from that day’s George Anderson delivery. What isn’t needed straightaway gets the date put on it and taken downstairs for future use.

Andante will bring their bread order, usually before we open at 10am, and it’s often still warm which makes it especially tempting. Green City usually bring a delivery later in the morning and we put the chilled goods straight into the fridge at the back and leave the rest for Claire to check when she comes in.

There’s a great feeling of satisfaction when everything’s looking clean and tidy and well-stocked by mid-morning. Phone calls, tidying up, chatting to customers, answering queries, trips to the bank for change, re-stocking, checking dates on dried goods and chilled goods in the backroom – these are just some of the things that come up to be dealt with in the course of the average Monday morning

Favourite product from the shop, or recipe from shop’s produce?

I very much like the way it’s possible to buy individual, unwrapped amounts of fresh produce, whether it is chilies or potatoes and one of the items I buy most regularly is fennel as it’s not a vegetable you see very often and it is surprisingly good value. Sometimes I cook with it (it’s good with fish) and sometimes we have it raw in salads. I like its crisp aniseed-y taste and the fronds are good for decoration too.

We’re always looking for new volunteers! Find out more about volunteering with us.