What can you tell us about The Only Weigh Out?
The Only Weigh Out is a convenient plastic-free, zero-waste supermarket where you bring your own containers and pay by weight – buying as little or as much as you need, at competitive prices. We sell almost 300 products, including: herbs and spices, dried fruits, pasta and rice, lentils, grains and pulses, flour and baking goods, free-range eggs, cereals, loose leaf tea and coffee beans/freshly ground coffee, nuts and seeds, oils and vinegars, award-winning honey, soaps, shampoo bars, household cleaning goods, toilet roll, sweets and more. We aim to source as locally as possible and continually try to support as many local suppliers as we can. Our greatest intention is to make our store as convenient and affordable as possible, thus we incorporate both organic and non-organic products, as we believe buying plastic-free should be accessible to all.
You’re a relatively new business, what measures have you had to put in place to ensure local people can get their essentials without having to brave the big supermarkets during lockdown?
Our utmost concern was to protect our customers and slow the spread of coronavirus, thus we adopted a proactive approach and closed our doors before the lockdown was officially implemented. Although this resulted in an initial loss of turnover, it afforded us time to formulate a plan to ensure that our customers – and those most vulnerable – were protected and able to get what they needed from us without risk. We created a website whereby people can order what they need from us online and either collect it or have it delivered. In order to ensure safety in collection, we built a counter out of the front of the shop, which was generously completed by Labman Automation, who donated a protective Perspex screen. We also created a ‘TS9 Support Group for Self-isolated People’ to connect everyone within this postcode so that they can help each other through these unnerving times.
How are you ensuring a safe working environment?
Myself and my partner Adam have been self-isolating for over a month to ensure we don’t get the virus – thereby protecting our customers, ensuring we can still provide our service to them. If anyone pays at the door, we encourage people to use contactless (where possible). When delivering, we sanitise our hands before dropping products at each house, ring the doorbell, step back and wait to ensure the customer has received their goods.
What kind of feedback are you getting from the local community?
The feedback we have received is absolutely incredible. Not only the overwhelming positivity and gratefulness, but the level of sincerity and concern people have for us as a business, is just wonderful. We are ever so lucky to be a part of such a wonderful community.
Can you give us a simple, store cupboard recipe for our readers to try at home?
Here is one of the wonderful recipes from Elizabeth Homan. Enjoy!
Walnut, Sage & Pea Risotto
This is a fantastic, simple recipe that can be easily doubled or halved. When cooled, it can be kept for three days in the fridge. Leftovers can be made into arancini – balls of risotto dipped in breadcrumbs and fried – lush! To make it vegan, simply miss out the parmesan and replace the butter with a dairy free alternative. The walnuts, sage and peas can be substituted for other seasonal produce.
½ glass of white wine (optional)
2 tsp dried sage (or a small handful of fresh sage, chopped finely)
Handful of walnuts
Glug of oil
1 white onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 small glass of white wine
1.5 pints of hot veg stock
Handful of frozen peas
Good grating of parmesan cheese (optional – or can be replaced with cheddar)
Knob of butter
Squeeze of lemon
In a pan (don’t worry about what type of pan, I’ve cooked risotto in frying pans, saucepans and a wok in the past). Add a glug of oil and add the onion and gently cook down until softened, add the garlic and stir through.
Add the rice, stir through, turn the heat up and add the wine. Once the wine has almost evaporated stir through the sage. Slowly add the hot stock, just covering the rice. Turn the heat low and let the risotto gently bubble away until the rice has absorbed nearly all the stock. Pour over more hot stock. Keep repeating this process until the rice is cooked through and you have a fairly loose risotto. On the last addition of stock, add the frozen peas.
Meanwhile, bash up the walnuts and pop into a dry frying pan over a medium heat, stir round so the nuts do not burn. When lightly toasted, remove from heat. Add the nuts, parmesan and butter and lemon to the risotto and stir through until combined. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Serve up with crusty bread and bowl of seasonal salad.
What’s next for The Only Weigh Out?
We are very excited to begin our next chapter. With the help of the exceptional chef and food knowledge wizard, Elizabeth Homan of Barefoot Kitchen CIC, we are going to be offering recipes/recipe boxes to enable people to reap the full benefits of our products. We have some surprises coming up and can’t wait to share them with everyone.
We are also going to be selling wines, beers, chutneys and jams very soon. Stay tuned!