Difficult decisions are never pleasant. But they must be made at times to best serve yourself and others at times.
We had a soft opening Christmas 2021, and despite a year of being unsure of a lot of things due to COVID, we actually had quite a display of support from our community. It was during that time we got lots of feedback that wasn't always easy to hear. We knew that we had a lot of trees that yet had a lot of growing to do. When we were starting out we thought that by buying land we should do something productive with it and after lots of deliberation decided to plant Christmas trees. We did our research and learned that the average Christmas tree takes seven years to mature. We, in my opinion, were overly anxious to get people to the farm and get some feedback. Will, being new to the farming of Christmas trees and also being a full time teacher hadn't had as much time to devote to the trees and field overall. We expected some sales and we did have some, we chose our own tree from the field and sold 4 or 5 other trees. However for every tree we did sale we had 2-3 other families stop and not find what they were looking for. I personally love a good Frazier Fir and in our area of rural Randolph County, Frazier's do not thrive. Any farm that is not mountainous has to ship that type of tree. This also takes a connection with a farm, that not every new farmer has to begin with. We learned that we must devote more time to shaping our trees as well as deal with pests in order for our trees to thrive. When you are shopping for your tree, realize that the farmer who grew that tree you are cutting down took time away from their families or other tasks at hand to plant and shape that tree into something that was worth cutting down to place in your home. Becoming a tree farmer has taught me so much, but most of all to appreciate what the farmer endured to bring me the products I'm buying whether it be a Christmas tree, produce, or a pack of meat. A farmer somewhere poured their lives into making that product the best they could for you and your family.
So here is what we learned from our year of what felt like overwhelming defeat:
When starting out as a tree farmer, know it's going to take a long time for the trees to develop and grow
Trees are like children in that you must put them on secure ground, treat them with care, shape them into what you want them to be, and are stubborn at times.
Farmers must have a network of other farmers to rely on, including a good dealer for those hard to find Frazier Firs.
Farming isn't for the faint of heart, but don't clear cut the field, even if you dream about it.
Deer are one of the most aggravating pests known to Christmas tree fields!
Not everyone who comes to the farm is looking for the perfect tree.
Christmas is still the most Wonderful time of Year!
To best serve our future tree shoppers we need to allow our trees to grow, fill out, and develop into what they have potential to be!
Our 2021 tree from our own field!