Volunteer of the Month: Roy Neitzke

June 18, 2015

CUESA’s Volunteer of the Month program recognizes the dedication and work of some of our most active volunteers. CUESA relies on volunteers to help with education programs, special events, public outreach, and other activities that help fulfill our mission to cultivate a sustainable food system. Learn more about volunteering and sign up here.

As an agricultural organization, CUESA is bound to have food at every event. CUESA volunteers and farm tour participants alike nosh on delicious farm-sourced snacks, and fundraising event guests enjoy cocktails with fruit juiced at its peak. Over the last year in the CUESA Kitchen, hardworking volunteer Roy Nietzke has transformed our vast supply of dried Iacopi Farm Gigante beans into luscious bean dip and spent many hours juicing to allow us to taste the bright rainbow of flavors available in the wintertime.

“Roy is a worker with a capital ‘W’!” says Carrie Sullivan, Culinary Programs Coordinator. “He is very generous with his time and resources, sharing his kitchen finds with CUESA by donating and lending tools. He will persevere with any task you ask him to take on, and he has been especially helpful preparing and cooking lunches for farm tours and buffet spreads for our volunteers’ family meal during our fundraising events. He’s also a great pinch hitter when I need an extra volunteer at the last minute.” Meet Roy.

CUESA: Where does your interest in food come from?

Roy: My interest in food comes from liking to make things and to learn new things. I also like to eat and make tea. When you make a pot of tea, you have a very different experience than a tea bag thrown in the bottom of the mug. The process is very calming and gives me the chance to try the wide variety of teas available.

CUESA: What do you do when you aren’t volunteering for CUESA?

Roy:I have always hunted for treasures at thrift stores and have earned money selling unique items to those who have unusual tastes. I have collected many things from crystal to textiles and now, finally, vintage kitchen items, some of which I’ve donated to CUESA. I would love to find good homes for my discontinued but very functional vintage kitchen utensils. I feel these items take one back to a simpler time when everything was done by hand. Most people have not heard of the Foley Fork, but Julia Child swore by hers in the kitchen.

I am also looking for full-time administrative assistant work in San Francisco. Boy, it’s tough out there!

CUESA: What is your favorite part about volunteering with CUESA?

Roy: My favorite part about CUESA is that Carrie lets us try different things on our own. The demo chefs are generally a lot of fun as well.

I’m not a cook, but I enjoy making a mess in the kitchen and seeing the results. Cooking, for me, is an example of the motto of the United States: E pluribus unum (Out of many, one). It’s about combining ingredients to make one fantastic dish. I didn’t know how to make pesto or bean dip and many of the other things I’ve learned at CUESA. Making real whipped cream is not the same as Reddi-Whip! Working with other volunteers makes one great team. Volunteers are present because they want to be. Standing next to someone holding a very sharp knife keeps things very friendly at CUESA. I hope to continue volunteering for years to come.

CUESA: Do you have an insider market tip or a favorite produce item at the market right now?

Roy: I generally like to keep my eye on the types of peppers and chiles in the market. My crockpot is never cold, and peppers can make things pretty interesting.

If you are interested in finding out what vintage kitchen items Roy has available for purchase, contact him.