Floral Design Meets Lacto-Fermentation at Flowerkraut in Hudson
722 Warren St | Hudson, NY
As the weather in New York finally warms up and the prettiest bouquets are starting to bloom, one of Upstate’s most impressive new flower shops, Flowerkraut, is giving Hudson, NY more than stems. They’ve got a secret weapon: sauerkraut.
Native Scotslady, Mairead Travins, a floral designer with an eye for home decor and unique treasures, runs the shop with her musician husband ‘Sauerkraut’ Seth, who concocts an impressive range of lacto-fermented vegetables. “I guess sauerkraut and flowers don’t have a huge amount in common other than that we both source from local growers,” Mairead says. “So, there’s a seasonal element to it.” Since opening ten months ago, they have rapidly become a destination for procuring flowers from in-and-around the Berkshires and the Hudson Valley.
Part of the joy of being Upstate is finding gems that aren’t often available outside the area. “It really is what’s best in a given week. I don’t get availability lists,” Mairead says.
Getting to fully embody her passion of working with flowers has been a long journey for Mairead who studied Anthropology and the classics before moving to America. “I knew I was going to have a big life change in moving to America and figured I might as well open a shop,” she says. “Hudson was on the up-and-up and the space was there. It was a ‘Now or Never’ type-thing.”
“I met my husband in Scotland, he’s a touring musician and a sauerkraut maker and he’s been doing that for about 15 years. His stage name is ‘Sauerkraut Seth.’ After a couple of years of being together, I’d already started doing flower design. I’d done a course in England and I’d always been interested in flowers,” Mairead says. “I always wanted to open my own business and Seth jokingly said one day, “You should call it ‘Flowerkraut,’ and I was like, ‘That’s ridiculous,’ but it stuck and it works somehow.”
Besides having a myriad of flowers, plants and sauerkraut, the Travins work hard to find NY-based artists to round out their collection of gifts. “I really just keep my eyes open and go to local craft markets or follow local makers on Instagram. I find a lot of my makers on there. Often, people will start following Flowerkraut and then I will have a look and see what they are doing,” she says, “and if I find cool ceramics or textiles, I like to buy from people directly. It’s quite nice.”
How does a store that sells both sauerkraut and flowers present these items to customers? Side by side, of course. “Somehow, they just complement each other really well. I have my big flower cooler and we keep them both in there,” Mairead shares.
The proximity to growers gives Mairead autonomy to get creative with her designs. “I would say I’m really lucky to live so near so many growers because I can get quite different products than you can get in the City,” she says. “I can get forest materials and fresh things that don’t last that long and are harder to get in a wholesale market.”
Mairead’s main focus for the shop is house plants and plant-related ceramics. “I tend to get all of my house plants from local greenhouses and people ‘round about. I have this little hand-illustrated botanical paintings/embroideries. I just try and find things that are vaguely botanical related.”
“The main thing people ask about when they come in is the name. They think it’s so weird, but it’s definitely memorable.” With the motto, ‘Where flower design holds hands with lacto-fermentation,’ Flowerkraut has big plans to grow in 2015, particularly with events and weddings. “There are always surprises and specialty things that I don’t see coming and I center my arrangements around making special moments with these things that are hard to find, or not everybody grows.”