Partners Sarah Bronilla and Luke van Unen are taking their love for the Catskills to the next level with the recent launch of their Hamden, Meat & Flowers store.
According to a press release, the store at 35813 State Highway 10 in Hamden opened in late November, offering “more than meat and roses,” showcasing regional producers of turkey, pork, beef and meat. lamb alongside fresh and dried flowers and vintage pieces. The release said related services, such as floral design, wedding and event planning, interior and landscape design, and catering will also be offered.
Bronilla, 44, said the couple had long held entrepreneurial hopes for their adopted community, but it took the threat of development to cement the plans. Bronilla, originally from Toronto, said she quit a 20-year career in New York City public relations specializing in “cultural marketing” before moving to the upstate.
“Luke and I moved and bought our first home about nine years ago in Delhi,” she said. “When Luke and I came to the Catskills to visit friends, like everyone else, we fell in love and slowly started shopping, and I ended up quitting my life as a publicist. A few years ago we found our dream home: a 100 acre farm in the Andes. We moved there and this is where we want to grow old. The goal has always been to build a flower farm and make a living off the land, and Luke is a writer and a builder’s son, so he’s our contractor and we do a lot of construction and interior design, which is our passion, and the flower arrangement falls into this range.
“Then we found this building in Hamden,” she continued, “and we heard someone was going to buy it and put up a parking lot. We decided to grab our pennies and buy the building and from there to open a flower shop, because we were going to have the farm, so… when I considered the design of the space, I could see everyone eat meat pies. I love making meat pies – it’s my favorite recipe – and Luke introduced me to Australian meat pies… so, Meat & Flowers. While chatting with fellow farmers, they said that it was so difficult to find a butcher and that they had lost a lot of money raising animals that they could not process them and put them in the hands of consumers. And I was like, “We should be a USDA butcher and sell your stuff. It was all a happy marriage.
Bronilla said she and van Unen are awaiting their USDA license, while still offering meat products.
“We’re doing it sort of in phases and there have been delays within the state for authorization,” she said. “We want to start the butchery part of the business as USDA and nothing less, so we just wait… but we have some local USDA prepackaged farm meat and everything is pasture raised. The pork is from Dar-View Farms in the Andes, the lamb is from Walton, and we have Fieldstone beef from Delhi, so we’ll go far, down to the Hudson Valley. And we are the exclusive retailer of Catskills products for Schaller & Weber, which is a German brand from 1937.
As Meat & Flowers blooms, Bronilla said, she and van Unen plan to deepen their partnerships.
“Our plan was to plan events, so we’re going to work with local caterers and they can buy local meat from us and we can make the arrangements, so that’s kind of a one,” she said. . “It’s the perfect organic way to do business.”
Since opening in November, Bronilla said, locals and visitors have embraced the space.
“They have been incredibly supportive,” she said. “Everyone who entered sang our praises and said the space is welcoming, comfortable and well designed. I think even as we were building, grinding every day, morning till night, just to get the place in a state where we could accommodate people, they were really excited that this building wasn’t turned into a parking lot.
“A lot of people got into shopping locally and supporting small businesses,” Bronilla continued, “and we wanted to do that and have them driven to Hamden, supporting the general store and the hostel. Hamden. was a sleepy little town for a few years… and it’s exciting that it’s starting to pick up again. Hamden is Highway 10 so a lot of people are coming from (from) Downsville, Delhi or Walton. During Thanksgiving we had a lot of no – locals who came to visit us… so it was really cool to hear these hipsters come up and be like, “Wow! This is one of the coolest stores I’ve ever seen. We have never seen them. had only a nice response.
Bronilla said she and van Unen plan to open an adjacent wine store and “hopefully by the summer” will have the butcher’s facilities and commercial kitchen up and running.
For more information visit meatandflowers.com, find “Meat & Flowers” on Facebook or follow @meatandflowers on Instagram.
Meat & Flowers will be open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily until Christmas. After Christmas, the store will be open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday through Monday.