Nestled neatly among the streets of Tenino, the quaint little Braids and Blossoms Flower Farm adds a fragrant bloom to the small city.
Owned by Ridgeline Middle School math teacher Tabatha Sand, the farm has a stand located at 396 Sussex Ave. E. in Tenino.
Sand cuts and arranges her organically-grown flowers two to three times a week — including every Friday — and sells the bouquets for $10 a piece to people from all over the region out of her stand.
Flowers are available until mid-October, or until the first frost, and are put up for sale around 9 a.m. on the days they are available.
“I started flower farming, I would say, about five years ago,” Sand said. “It was just for myself at first, but then everybody was interested, so a hobby has become a business and I just love sharing it with everybody.”
She sells about 60 to 70 bouquets a week, which are primarily made out of dahlias.
“I’m kind of a dahlia addict,” Sand said. “I have two full hoop houses full of dahlias. They’re 14-by-100 feet long, so I have thousands of dahlias, but I grow other cut-flowers as well.”
And her love of blossoms and blooms spans back as far as she can remember.
“I was always that little girl that was grabbing the fistfuls of flowers and giving them to everybody, and so it’s always been something that I’ve loved,” Sand said. “When I was a little girl, I spent much of my summers out in the garden with my grandfather, and he used to wheel me around in his little garden wagon. He showed me and taught me how to grow flowers and vegetables.”
Folks can make special orders by messaging Sand on her Facebook page, “Braids and Blossoms,” which she updates to let customers know what days she’ll be putting the flowers out.
Customers pay on an honor system in an “honesty box” next to the stand, but Sand also accepts PayPal transfers.
Part of the business is devoted to weddings and special events, but they’re only a small part of her focus.
“Mostly I just sell them in my farm stand and cut them out,” Sand said of her flowers. “My wonderful customers come and grab them and they’re usually gone in a couple hours.”
For Sand, the flower farm means more than beautiful arrangements and $700 a week. It’s what the flowers mean to her customers that keeps her garden growing.
“They’re like blooming emotions,” Sand said. “Everybody picks flowers to kind of transfer a feeling to somebody. Whether it’s love, or ‘I’m thinking of you,’ or just happiness, or joy or ‘I’m sorry about this,’ there’s always some emotion.
“My favorite part is watching when people select the flowers, because you can just see it — that they light up. Everyone has a different preference and you know somehow those flowers are going to be transferred and create some emotion for somebody, whether it’s themselves or somebody they love or care about.”
Social media and email handles for the farm are Braids&Blossoms@braidsandblossomsflowerfarm on Facebook, BraidsandBlossmsFlowerFarm on Instagram and the farm’s email is firstname.lastname@example.org.