My name is Sarah Primrose.
I am the creator of Primrose & Co. A Chef, food stylist, menu and recipe developer, nature explorer, avid gardener, keeper of chickens and sheep. I live in Wellsford (the halfway point between Whangarei and Auckland) with my partner Scott on our beautiful lifestyle block surrounded by gardens, native bush and rolling hills.
We never really pictured our first home being in Wellsford, but as soon as Scott said you need to see this property, I was intrigued. For one Scott is from England and did not grow up on a farm or around animals, and for anyone living and working in the city saying let’s look at a house 80km away, this house had to be something special.
It's kind of a fairy tale house really, a big old grand, double bay Kauri villa with a roundabout driveway in front of it, established garden and trees, land to grow your own fruit and vegetables have a few chickens and sheep and live self-sufficiently. But, it had been a rental property for 10 years the paddocks had been used for basically a tip and the house needed a massive facelift. We have done a lot of work to clean it up and give it the love it deserves but we still have a long way to go and figure it is a life project.
For two years I continued to drive to and from work in the city, and while the drive was fine for a while singing and listening to music, listening to podcasts, it didn’t take long to see all the souls sitting in cars around me trying to get into work too. Co-workers seemly living for the weekend and not looking forward to Monday grind.
My mind was starting to dive deeper into why we feel the need to sit in grid lock traffic every day and I could be so much more productive with this time. 25 hours to be exact, almost a full time job sitting in a car trying to get to work, leaving super early and getting home late it just didn’t make sense to me, why did we buy this amazing home and property and not be able to spend any time enjoying it.
My values had also started to shift, instead of valuing materialistic things, significance, status and people’s opinions, I now valued time, connection, contribution, passion, quality of life and that includes the quality of the planet. I needed to do something much bigger than myself. I decided to resign with no plan which Scott was so amazingly supportive of.
In the meantime, our good friends had just started a dream of their own in producing chocolate, like some of the best chocolate in the world. They needed help with their growing chocolate business baby (Honest Chocolat Matakana). I had just recently made myself jobless so the timing was perfect and my journey into the world of ethically sourced delicious chocolate began in their commercial kitchen (garage), chocolate was also something I hadn't done so was keen to learn something new.
(A Bit of History)
I have worked in a variety of high-end restaurants, hotels, and cafes. Have represented New Zealand as a chef in several culinary competitions around the world. I was appointed as the Junior World Ambassador for young chefs at the World Chef Congress in Chile. My career has helped by exposing me to a wide range of hospitality and food sectors in the industry. Being able to travel overseas competing at an international level has opened my eyes to the way different cultures live and ways of life.
I’ve always been into learning and knowing about how and where our food has come from, eating sustainably, healthily in season and how the food item, animal or produce is grown, harvested and processed before it gets to the kitchen or our table. One food item I / we don’t eat anymore and haven’t for a long time is tuna, (sorry for forcing this on you Scott, but thank you for seeing why). If fact we pretty much don’t eat fish unless we catch it ourselves. Global catches of tuna have increased more than 1,000% over the past 60 years. Booming demand for tinned fish since the second world war has fuelled a massive expansion of industrial fisheries. Tuna take many years to mature and do not produce many offspring, and tuna fishing has hugely affected shark populations. If we lose tuna due to overexploitation, we break those links in the food web and disrupt the function of the ecosystem. This means that the survival of other species in the ecosystem is also threatened.
Our current culture of consumption is unsustainable, with waste, pollution and climate change as the most systemic threat to humankind and our planet, I decided it was time to act and be the change, and once I make a decision, that's it, I will do anything to make it happen, I'm a pretty determined person and love a good challenge!
The first port of call was the kitchen and tackling good old glad wrap. This is where Primrose Bees Wrap was born. Gosh, if this wasn't a shock to the system then I don't what is! A chef vowing to never use single use plastic wrap again was such a mind shift and probably one of the hardest changes we made. We are super lucky we have beekeeping neighbours who provide us with the most amazing bees wax (and honey), and so the testing phase began, and went on for about a year before we finally got to something that we were happy with.
We found that with the temperature changes each season the wraps would work differently, as we moved into the cooler months the wraps were so firm we could hardly mould them without warming them up, then once we had adapted the recipe, the next summer they were too soft! Back to the drawing board! We now have our signature wax blend which we have developed to a fine art!
I'm sure at the time a lot of my mates thought I was turning into a hippie using all these weird reusable alternatives, making cleaning products and drinking coffee out of a reusable keep cup.
Once you start living low impact and actually wake up to what you are consuming and putting in and, on your body, a new way of life opens up and you start learning. My passion for gardening and growing food was reignited, learning about nutrition, health, and wellbeing with what we eat and also put onto our bodies and how the precious qualities of plants can heal and nourish our bodies.
On our land we grow a small variety of medicinal plants and herbs that are used with the intention of maintaining health, wellbeing in our botanical skin and body products. Flowers and herbs are harvested in small batches then gently dried and incorporated into our products while still maintaining their precious body healing qualities. As the business grows, we want to plant larger quantities and varieties to incorporate into our growing range. Everything we make is packaged into reusable glass bottles and jars or compostable card tubes which can be put into the garden or compost at home or have a second life.
We believe in living thoughtfully, knowing where things come from, where they end up & how we can live more sustainably with Mother Nature & Our Planet.