Local farms have the tree for you

By Lori O' Brien

Correspondent



The cars and SUV's were streaming into the Glen Gary Christmas Tree Farm on Saturday morning all filled with eager participants in search of the perfect Christmas tree.

The tree farm is located on Shoemaker Lane in Agawam and boasts close to 22 acres of tree types including Fraser Fir, Balsam Fir and Blue Spruce. With temperatures slowly rising in the late morning air, there were many area residents lined up and waiting for the tractor ride to take them into the various fields filled with a wide assortment of tree shapes and sizes.

The Tapply family of Agawam, Ann, Donna and Warren, were one of the early visitors and said they enjoy their family tradition of going out to breakfast and then descending on the tree farm to pick out Christmas trees for their homes.

"We're very particular when it comes to picking out trees," said Donna Warren.

Muriel and Robert Fearn oversee the operation with assistance from their four children, their family members and friends. In addition to tree sales, the Fearns also have a delightful Christmas shop that features an assortment of holiday ornaments (many painted by Muriel herself), crafts by local artisans, festive decorations, poinsettias and candles. In addition, step back in time by taking a minute to look around their shop which features a unique exhibit of antique farm tools and a wonderfully restored carriage. Throughout the shop there are also hints of an earlier time with decorations that include an ice box, sewing machine and Yankee Clipper sled. While browsing, visitors are also treated to steaming hot cocoa or spiced cider.

"We wanted a very cozy look to the Christmas shop," said Muriel Fearn during an interview with Reminder Publications.

At the entrance to the Christmas shop is a variety of cemetery boxes as well as a wide assortment of wreaths with colorful bows, pine cones and ribbons. In addition, the Fearns offer fresh-cut trees for those who prefer not to cut one down themselves.

Muriel's son Bob said his family started the tree farm business in 1994 because they wanted to put their land to good use and bring back the old-fashioned traditions they remembered growing up.

The trees that the Fearns sell are approximately 12- to 15-years-old, and after an individual cuts down one of the trees, family members shake it which helps loosen and remove debris including dead needles and leaves. Lastly, one of the Fearns will prune the bottom and then gift wrap the tree with netting.

For area residents purchasing a real tree this holiday season, the most important thing to remember is that trees need water they are very thirsty! Trees can drink between two pints and a gallon of water a day. The Fearns recommend using a water-bearing stand with a water capacity of at least one gallon or more. Check the stand daily and supply fresh water as needed.

After the holidays, the Fearns encourage tree purchasers to recycle their tree at home since they are biodegradable. For example, you can use the tree branches for mulch in gardens or as a bird feeder, adding color and excitement to one's winter garden. Also, placing fruit and suet on the branches of the tree are an ideal way to feed birds.

The Glen Gary Christmas Tree Farm is a member of the Massachusetts Christmas Tree Association (MCTA). MCTA members in the area also include the Radebaugh Christmas Tree Farm, 930 Stony Hill Road, Wilbraham, (413) 323-5270; Ket-Tree Farms, 116 Stebbins Road, Monson, (413) 267-3607; Balsam Acres, 160 Chester Road, Blandford, (413) 296-4703, and the Allen Tree Farm, 14 North Road, Westfield, (413) 256-8054.

The Fearns also noted that for every real Christmas tree harvested, an average of three seedlings are planted in its place.

The Glen Gary Christmas Tree Farm is open on Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to dusk until Dec. 17. The Fearns also offer calendars to patrons and coloring books for children. For more information, call (413) 786-1558.

For more tips on caring for your Christmas tree, visit www.christmas-trees.org.



 
 
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