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Stockist Spotlight: Zucchini

We met up with the owner of Zucchini green grocers Hameed for a chat about all things fruit and veg. We also can’t forget to mention that Zucchini’s samosas are our absolute faves! 

Tell us a bit about yourself and Zucchini?
My father and I set up Zucchini in the summer of 2004 whilst I was at school. It was on the advice of my mum who had been operating the flower shop across the road (Floral Haven) for four years previously. She spotted a gap in the market for an upmarket greengrocer and the property was trading as a greengrocer/garden shop however the owners were ready to retire. My dad had a shop in Govan previously and my uncle runs stalks and stems in Shawlands so the greengrocer trade is in the family DNA you could say. Added to this I’ve always had an interest in cooking, using quality ingredients and experimenting with flavours.

My brother and I used to spend our weekends hanging around the govan shop when we were young and as a result were inducted into the world of fresh produce from an early age. Even as kids we could distinguish between a Maris piper and a Golden wonder potato. When we opened Zucchini nearly twenty years ago, I would spend my weekends (and often weekdays in my school uniform) working and helping out. Sometimes I’d sneak out of school at lunchtime with friends and go into the shop to eat samosas and snacks. My school friends certainly never passed the opportunity of a free samosa and ginger beer if they accompanied myself on the short walk through the back lanes of Pollokshields so teachers wouldn’t spot us out-with school grounds.

After finishing school and starting university, I was never really away from the shop as a sense of duty always brought me back from Aberdeen at weekends to help out. Living in Aberdeen for a number of years really helped me appreciate the value a quality greengrocer brings to a community as there wasn’t a single one in the whole city and everyone is reliant on supermarkets for their produce.

Whenever I came home to Glasgow I found myself cooking constantly due to the availability of free and quality ingredients which as a student was certainly helpful in a financial sense. After completing my studies, I decided to take an increased role in Zucchini again mainly as it would help out my father and meant I wouldn’t need to go through the hassle of finding a proper job which I was dreading at the time. Fast forward a few years and I now find myself being the owner of Zucchini due to my fathers sad passing. 

What is your favourite thing about being a green grocer? 
My favourite thing about being a greengrocer would probably be having an unlimited supply of avocados. I consider them king amongst fruit and eat them nearly every day sometimes smashed up on sourdough or in a guacamole with some of our fancy tortilla chips. Other than the perk of avocados on demand I’d say the best thing about being a greengrocer is the community based aspect of it. Speaking to regular customers and seeing kids grow up over the years is something you don’t get in an office job. 

What is your customers favourite You + I kombucha flavour?  
I would say the ginger flavour of kombucha is probably our best selling within the range but the other flavours also do well. 

What is your top selling fruit/veg during the winter?  
Being in the fruit and veg game for so long allows me to pick up on trends and tastes that evolve throughout the years. For example I was surprised to find that potatoes and cabbages are not as popular as they used to be twenty years ago. Especially surprising in a city with such a huge Irish diaspora. Traditional cabbage varieties like savoy and primo are being overlooked by consumers in favour of more trendy veg like curly kale and cavolo nero. During the winter months, soups are typically order of the day so we go through a lot more leek, carrot, turnip etc than during summer months. In terms of fruit I would say our customers prefer seasonal British produce like the many varieties of pears and apples that are available this time of year. 

You recently opened Zucchini in Cathcart. Do you have any other locations planned?
After some time working in the corporate world of finance and management, my brother decided he wanted to open another Zucchini and earmarked Cathcart as a suitable location. We may open more locations over time as we find that there is good demand for this kind of business model. We are currently working on an online store and hamper business which is in the pipeline for next year.