Browne’s Mountain – Cynthia Beaulaurier’s spring and summer life is organized by the growing habits of flowers: early spring bloomers are the bulbs, fancy tulips and narcissus imported from Holland; then the ranunculus bloom, followed by the lilies, lavender, dahlias and sunflowers, accompanied by cosmos, zinnias, sweet peas and snapdragons.
Beaulaurier is the owner and the main flower farmer at The Little French Farm (9020 S. Hilby Road) which sits on the flanks of Browne’s Mountain just a few minutes south of Spokane.
A CPA by training and career, Beaulaurier always wanted to grow flowers and in 2019 she said she really committed.
“I signed up for a small farm class at the WSU Extension with Pat Munts, and we toured a bunch of places,” Beaulaurier said. A self-described city girl from Spokane, she admits to being a little surprised by the grit, dirt and tenacity that comes with farming, but she wasn’t deterred.
She ties her big French-style bouquets with fragrant herbs like mint and basil, and also incorporates long tendrils from the grapevines on the property.
“It’s very French – a little messy – and with the herbs you get this great scent every time you walk by the bouquet,” Beaulaurier said.
The Little French Farm is part of South Spokane Farm Corridor, a group of farms located south of Spokane, roughly between the Pullman Highway and the Palouse Highway. There are 22 smaller farms who are part of the network, selling everything from vegetables to flowers, eggs, meat and perennials.
“It is a great group. Our goal is to increase peoples’ awareness of the farms south of Spokane,” Beaulaurier said. “We want to become a destination.”
Among the other farms are Heron Pond Farms, which is famous for its heirloom pork, and The Rosarium, which is a full-service garden center that specializes in hardy roses and has a drop-dead gorgeous display garden. Vets on the Farm is a vegetable farm operated by the Spokane Conservation District which engages military veterans in farming. It’s a market farm which sells most of its produce right off the farm.
Last year, Beaulaurier took her teardrop trailer full of bouquets to the Wonder Building Market – where she usually quickly sold out – but this year she’s focused on turning the Little French Farm into a destination.
“I really want people to come out here, so I can connect them with all the other farms,” Beaulaurier said.
She’s hoping to add an outdoor patio seating area to her farm and has just obtained a license to sell beer.
“I would love to have people drop in here after they’ve toured a bunch of the other farms,” Beaulaurier said. “There is a great farm community out here just south of town.”
Photo by Pia Hallenberg - @piahallenberg on Instagram