Local tree farms part of family tradition

Photo by ee

Photo by ee

For those in search of the perfect tree and for whom a precut or artificial one won't do, there are still thousands of trees waiting to become someone's Christmas centerpiece.

Nearby tree farms, including Berry's Tree Farm in Newton County, along with Yule Christmas Tree Farm and Sugarland Tree Farm, both in Stockbridge, remain well-stocked for the holiday season with cut-your-own trees.

Chuck Berry of Berry's Tree Farm said he's got several thousand ready for the taking including Leyland cypress, one of the most popular. There's also fresh-cut fraser firs on hand, and flocking available for those wanting a "snowy" look to their tree.

Berry said his tree business spans four generations and the land on which the trees are grown goes back six generations.

"For the last 30 years we've tried to build a family tradition that sets us apart from the big-box stores," Berry said.

In addition to Christmas trees, Berry's offers handmade wreaths, garland strands, train rides for the kids and concessions like popcorn and hot chocolate to keep folks warm.

Berry said his family aims to make finding the right Christmas tree a memorable experience.

"It's the fun, family and friendship that looking for your Christmas tree can bring," Berry said.

Susie Grant, co-owner of Yule Christmas Tree Farm, said her business offers 20 acres of trees from which to choose with varieties including Virginia pine, Leyland cypress and fresh-cut fraser firs. Yule also offers flocking in various colors including white, pink, purple and turquoise.

On weekends, Yule provides hayrides and a petting zoo, with animals such as llamas, emu, and mini-horses, as well as inflatable bouncies when weather permits.

"One of the things I just truly love is the fact that so many people keep coming back to us," said Grant, who opened the business with her husband Allen Grant in 1983. "It's been a year since we've seen them. They bring their children and their children bring their children. It's been the creation of a family, that's the heartwarming thing about it."

Just a few miles away from Yule is Sugarland Tree Farm, another family-owned and operated business that grows Carolina sapphires and blue ice cypresses. Sugarland's highlight is Santa, who is on hand each weekend and available for free photos with the kids.

Visitors can also stop by the Sugarhaus, which sells artificial wreaths, mailbox covers, floral arrangements and other holiday decorations.

Sugarland is operated by Jim and Charlotte "Sug" Smith, who have been selling trees since 1988 and have employed all manner of relatives -- children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews -- over the years to help run the farm.

"You have to enjoy it," said Jim Smith. "It's our favorite time of the year."