At Watts Tree Farm one of our main sources of income, from the woodlot, is Christmas trees. We have only a small lot but managing this takes quite a bit of time. Today I’ll focus on the harvest season of 2011. Our primary interest is with “Choose and Cut” although we do have a few trees that are sold wholesale.
Choose and Cut is quite simply defined as having trees, still on the stump, where customers can walk around to choose the right tree for them and then we will cut it fresh for them to take home. It is this part of the whole Christmas tree growing that I enjoy the most. It is pleasant when the weather is good but can become unpleasant to almost impossible if we get heavy snow. There are so many little things to write about but I’ll only cover a few in this blog and save more for other times of the year.
When visitors arrive at the Christmas tree lot they are greeted at our shed. As our trees are all “graded” and priced guests need a little instruction before heading off to wander through the 2.5 ha of Christmas trees. Although our guests can wander and enjoy the great outdoors we like to keep the cutting in the hands of our staff. Since we have many trees that are preselected, usually in November, it keeps mistakes and accidents from happening if our guests are not carrying saws.
The weather in our 2011 season was especially good for Choose and Cut, with only a little snow on some weekends. Our Christmas tree business is very small and we are only able to be open on the weekends. That is because I and all of my help work full time so we have to squeeze all of our sales into a couple of busy weekends. When the weather is good it can be a lot of fun for everyone. But in those years when the snow comes early and is deep or heavy and wet the fun can disappear and it becomes a difficult task.
Our Christmas tree lot has a well laid out series of trails. The entire lot is divided into small blocks of about 0.2 ha each. This layout is so helpful in so many ways. Trails go around or through every block and it makes picking up trees much easier. We use an ATV (All Terrain Vehicle) and a trailer to haul most of the trees back to the shed where the final transaction takes place before the family leaves. The children especially enjoy the ride back, either in the trailer or for a few, up front with me. We also carry a few additional items for sale such as wreaths and bundles of brush and occasionally other decorating material. Having these extra items helps to add to our income. It also adds to making the experience of visiting Watts Tree Farm more enjoyable and fulfilling.
There is a lot more to show about growing Christmas trees. I am happy that I will have this blog to present even more to you in the future. I hope you will continue to follow along.
Until next time, keep safe and well.