Sahra Tohow, Sydney
Words by Elisha Kennedy
Images by Sam Riles
On our Market Day Pop Up we collaborated with Sahra of__Foragers & Co. on a Breakfast In Bed produce bag. On the day, Sahra filled our linen market bags with beautiful avocados, tomatoes, locally grown asparagus, blood oranges and more. The fruit and vegetables she sourced for our bags were some of the best we've ever tasted, so, full of food and brimming with curiosity we asked if we could accompany her on one of her morning trips to the Sydney markets. Here's the story. The markets are a parallel universe to the otherwise sleepy suburbs of Sydney in the early hours of the morning. The produce here is both locally grown and imported, with vividly coloured fruits and vegetables still pocked with the dirt they've been uprooted from. It's a true example of organized chaos here, forklifts criss-cross in all directions and trucks reverse into lots where growers stack boxes of produce into neat little piles. Bunches of asparagus are housed in pentagonal boxes and oversized cabbages take up space across the concrete floors. A group of men crouch around a small table with a deck of cards and cups of black coffee. They've been here selling for hours already, the rest of us waking in their final working hours. Sahra is here to source fruit and vegetables for her seasonal produce bags which she will hand deliver to customers that afternoon. As we move through the shed she stops every now and then to chat to one of her growers and maybe handle a bunch of something. She knows where to go and what to ask for, pointing out a father and son who grow the juiciest mandarins, someone whose prices are always too high. In another shed we come across stacks of boxes of fruit and vegetables that are unidentifiable to us; oddly shaped starchy looking things with spikes and leafy greens with spider veins. A woman recommends an unusual potato for a salad and time is spent cooing over a group of prodigious watermelons. Above: Table cloth in stone; napkins in pale blue & stripe After the markets we return to Sahra's apartment on the other side of Sydney, where we drink mint tea in a breakfast nook overlooking the bay. In the kitchen she moves swiftly and with ease, recounting the story of her transition from years spent working in fashion to finding herself again through a love of fresh produce. Sahra approaches cooking like playing with a puzzle, gathering all the bits and pieces available to her and organising them into a complete dish. From all the thousands of crates of produce that we've seen this morning Sahra produces a beautifully simple and nourishing breakfast, paying homage to the season. Above: Table cloth in stone; napkins in pale blue & stripe What were some of the contributing factors that led you to begin__Foragers & Co? Independence, education, sustainability; starting a business has always been the plan and through__Foragers__I saw an opportunity to learn more about farming, nature and the land while being able to support myself. Above: Table cloth in stone; napkins in pale blue & stripe What does it mean for you to work independently?__ Working independently means freedom, I have the flexibility to set my own pace and to have a real say on what and how I do things. It also comes with responsibility and so I never feel comfortable to just sit back which I think is great, it keeps me motivated. What books are on your bedside table at the moment? Lots! I have been trying to read a lot more, and so I put books on my bedside table in the hope I will read them instead of replying to emails. At the moment I have Bad Feminist by Roxanne Gay, On Beauty by Zadie Smith, and a beautiful Italian cookbook brought back from Italy by my partners mother, which I am cooking my way through! Can you give us the recipe for this breakfast? Spring breakfast (2 serves) 1 bunch Asparagus 2-4 eggs (best quality you can afford) Handful of herbs, edible petals and leaves (I used rocket leaves and flowers, mint, basil, nasturtium flowers) Olive oil Salt and pepper Smashed nuts (I used almonds) Sheep milk feta Trim and wash asparagus leaving whole, Lightly saute asparagus in frypan for 2-3 mins with olive oil and season with salt and pepper, Cook eggs to your liking, I like to soft boil mine but fry or poach as you please, Pop asparagus on the plate, add the cooked eggs, top with nuts, crumble feta, add herbs and flowers. Season, drizzle olive oil and serve with toast if needed! Do you have any before-bed or bedtime rituals?
Not really, unless I am feeling stressed or unable to wind down, if so I take a bath with dimmed lights or candles (Maison Balzac is my favourite) and a cup of camomile tea, the darkness seem to have a really soothing effect. Otherwise I just wash my face, moisturise and into bed! Above: bed linen in white See more from Sahra and Foragers & Co. HERE