Meet the Farmers Growing Christmas Trees
Everyone has their own traditions when it comes to the Christmas season. But there is perhaps no tradition more classic than going to a local farm to get your very own tree chopped to prop up in the living room, for all to see, and smell. While many may opt for a fake, pre-decorated tree from a hardware store, you just can’t capture the same old-fashioned charm that a Christmas tree farm can give.
Fortunately, if you decide to keep the tradition alive and choose your own farm-grown tree, Central Virginia is home to several plots of land dedicated to the Christmas custom.
Bedford Evergreen Christmas Tree Farm
1893 Robertson ROAd, Bedford, VA 24523
For Dan Young, growing and cutting Christmas trees is not only a tradition, it’s a legacy.
“I grew up in Prince Edward County, on a Christmas tree farm, near Farmville,” Young said. “So, I kinda grew up doing it.”
Dan bought a farm of his own in Bedford County about 16 years ago and started to grow trees of his own. Due to his long history in the field, Dan says he knows exactly how a tree should be cut and shaped, and that the quality shape of his trees is a trademark of his farm.
“We got it down to a pretty good art form,” he said.
Bedford Evergreen also offers hayrides and will offer to cut and load your tree for you.
“For me, I grew up always getting a tree,” Young remembered. “The feelings that engenders are fairly powerful. Because it just becomes part of a tradition. In a way, by continuing to do this, I’m continuing a tradition that I grew up with.”
According to Young, shoppers should be sure to get their trees as early as possible. He says there is a shortage in Virginia, due, in part, to older growers retiring without new growers to take their places.
Begins Black Friday and will open the following two weekends.
Dancing Hill Christmas Tree Farm
1401 Dancing Hill Road, Bedford, VA 24523
With a claim to having the longest run Christmas Tree farm in the area, Richard Miles started Dancing Hill Christmas Tree Farm in 1980, as a way to pay for his children’s college education.
Although the farm does not produce as many trees as it used to, Dancing Hill specializes in larger trees, mostly for commercial use, such as for businesses or church events.
“We’ve scaled way back from what we started,” Miles said.
“We used to be open for a month. We’re only open one weekend now and we sell everything we’ve got in one weekend.”
Miles says that running the farm for so long has produced some rewarding results.
“We’ve been at it for so long, we’re selling to people who came up as kids who are now adults with their own kids,”
Dancing Hills was the best option for Miles and his family after his retirement from the Department of Forestry. He figured his expertise was expansive enough to provide a great service to others.
Miles says that shoppers should get their tree early, and to call before coming to ensure they haven’t already sold out.
Begins Black Friday and continues while supplies last
Green Needles Christmas Tree Farm
1175 Yew Tree Lane, Coleman Falls, VA 24536
Jon Perdew is the third owner of Green Needles Christmas Tree Farm and has operated it for 18 years.
According to Perdew, the scenic mountain locale, the fresh hot chocolate, and the old-fashioned fun of tire swings make Green Needles a unique, and warm experience for tree shoppers.
Perdew admits there wasn’t a special reason he got into the Christmas tree business, he only wanted the land and had the prior experience of running apple and peach orchards.
Green Needles also makes and sells wreaths and even has food trucks for its guests. Much like his peers, Perdew advises that shoppers snag their trees as early as possible.
Begins the Saturday before Thanksgiving and continues while supplies last.
Joyful Tree Farm
16145 Forest Road, Forest, VA 24551
Although the Joyful Tree Farm began operation in 2019, the business has already found success. Mary Gribbin, a professor of the PA Medicine program at the University of Lynchburg, and mother of seven, owns and operates the business with her husband Bill.
According to Mary, Joyful Tree started as just a fundraiser for the PA program, where the students would provide and package trees for customers while enjoying coffee and ice cream from Rookie’s.
“We were looking to uphold that tradition of people getting together and being able to enjoy Christmas during Covid, and it kinda just blossomed from there,” she said.
Joyful Tree only works with Fraser fir trees, which Mary says do well in the local climate. While they do provide trees up to 10 feet, Mary says Joyful Tree also sells smaller, three- to four-foot trees.
Mary even teaches a wreath-making class.
Unsurprisingly, Mary suggests buying early.
“So far, every year we’ve sold out,” she said. “I already have orders for more than 200 trees.”
Begins Black Friday and continues while supplies last.
These farmers are doing their part to make Christmas and the rest of the holiday season an unforgettable experience for families in Central Virginia. Be sure to grab some hot chocolate and support your local farmers this Christmas season.