Local News

Growing Christmas trees is a labor of love

By Victoria Gaither

With Christmas just weeks away, Florence Christmas tree farmer Mike Gecha is busy.

Gecha owns and runs Whipple Hollow Farms, a family business that only started selling Christmas trees two years ago.

Courtesy Whipple Hollow Farm

He explained, “We had some land that was just being used for farm hay. So we thought about how to better use our land.”

Just like that, the decision was made to plant Christmas trees and make memories for Central Vermont families.

Gecha plants the seedlings in spring, and with help from mother nature, his steady hands, and care, the trees take seven to nine years to reach a sellable height. So there are always trees growing on the farm.

He sells Fraser fir, Blue spruce, Canaan fir, Balsam, and fralsam, a hybrid.  Gecha said trees give off a nice aromatic smell when in the house. He added taking care of each tree is rewarding.

“From the planting to trimming and mowing the thousands of trees. It’s almost like you get to know each of them,” he said.

His passion for growing Christmas trees is as real as Santa Claus. What’s also real is the joy he sees in the eyes of families when they find the right tree to cut and take home. He said there is something special about a fresh-cut tree.

“I prefer a real tree over an artificial tree because I have always had a real tree since I was a kid. It’s just part of family tradition,” he said.

This tradition is being played at the farm as Christmas trees are tied to the rooftop of cars, and like the famous Rockefeller Center tree, Christmas trees travel to their final destination.

Courtesy Whipple Hollow Farm

It may not end up at the world-famous New York City Rockefeller Center, but Gecha says taking care of any tree, whether famous or not, requires attention and water.

“Once you cut a tree, it should be a fresh cut and put into water as soon as you can. It’s important to keep the tree full of water while it’s inside the house.”

He discussed other considerations when buying a tree, “Make sure it fits in the room; everyone has a different size or shape they like best. Cost can be a factor. Check to see if the price is in your budget.”

Trees at Whipple Hollow Farm are $50, no matter the size. Each kid gets a small bell ornament with a Christmas tree and sometimes hot chocolate.

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