Christmas Trees Selling Fast at Sugar Pines Farms

Pre-Christmas activity at Sugar Pines Farms in Chester Township feels like a modern version of Currier and Ives winter scenes.

Pre-Christmas activity at Sugar Pines Farms in Chester Township feels like a modern version of Currier and Ives winter scenes.

Families trudge through the snow to cut their Christmas trees with handsaws and then load them, bound with twine, into trucks, SUVs or onto the roof of the family car.

Employees at the 100-acre tree farm haul trees to the dozens of vehicles or try to stay warm while they take care of the cash register in the open shed.

People gather around a fire, warming cold fingers.

A hay wagon, drawn by a tractor, totes visitors around the trails leading to fields full of pine trees destined to grace a living room in a few years.

Near the open-air office is a display of already cut trees for sale and down the driveway, a new, temporary addition to the farm has been set up.

Sugar Pines Farms, owned and operated by Jane and Fritz Neubauer at 9500 Mulberry Road, gives families far and wide the chance to take part in the annual tradition of choosing the perfect Christmas tree.

It is a challenging undertaking, considering the steady flow of traffic winding through the Neubauers’ tree farm the weekend after Thanksgiving.

“We sold 1,000 trees yesterday,” Jane said on Nov. 27, as she piloted an open golf cart through acres of knee-high pines. “These are 2 years old. We plant about 3,000 seedlings every spring.”

Tender loving care includes shaping the young trees, keeping the weeds down and watching for disease and insect damage. The trees grow about a foot a year, so they are ready to be harvested for the holiday season in their fifth or sixth year, Jane said.

“It’s kind of sad when you have been caring for them all that time,” she said.

The farm has a number of fields filled with straight rows of pines or spruce trees at various levels of growth, while most of the smaller trees have a few years to attain the most popular heights, she said.

The farm also sells balled trees to area landscapers throughout the planting season.

The operation keeps the Neubauers busy all year around.

They bought the property, called Conifer Creek, from Glenn and Carol Battles 10 years ago.

“Fritz was an arborist for a tree service and I was a marketing consultant,” Jane said. “We thought it would be a good combination to own a tree farm.”

Although last Saturday was cold and wet, vehicles were parked solid along the driveway and their occupants hiked off to discover the joy of finding just the ideal trees.

Visitors to Sugar Pines Farms can share the spirit of Christmas in another way by donating to Operation Evergreen, an initiative of the Ohio Christmas Tree Association that ships live trees to U.S. military bases overseas, Neubauer said.

Donations start at $20 and some visitors will chip in the full $150 for a tree to be dug and transported to bases so military personnel can enjoy Christmas no matter where they are.

“Our customers are super-generous. Veterans are very supportive,” she said.

This year, the Hallmark Channel network is partnering with Sugar Pines Farms to celebrate the start of the season with one-of-a-kind Hallmark Channel-branded festivities and fun.

Visitors searching for the ideal Christmas tree can also grab some holiday goodies, such as hand warmers, and pose for a festive photo to commemorate Hallmark’s Countdown to Christmas campaign. In addition, randomly-selected visitors will receive a free Christmas tree, courtesy of Hallmark Channel, according to a press release.

The Hallmark employees at the display will be collecting winter coats Dec. 4 and 5 for One Warm Coat, the national nonprofit that provides free coats to children and adults in need while promoting volunteerism and environmental sustainability.



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