Christmas tree farming: The story of how and why I started.

Hello from the flanigan homestead this Video that you’re going to see today was Originally supposed to be part of a Video where paul i was going to talk About positives and negatives of Starting a christmas tree farm and my Story of getting started and you might Compare your situation but The other video was getting a little bit Long so i do have three prominent night Positives and negatives I’ll put a link in the description if You want to see that video this one is Just about my story on how my grandpa Helped me get started in christmas tree Farming and i did it on my property for A few years and then i’ve had a Commercial farm for about 20 years now Anyway Uh i hope you enjoy it and So here’s my story how i got into Christmas trees and I’m thankful that i did and i’m i’m Still doing it now my story is probably Not unlike many of yours throughout the Review you know i’ve enjoyed having this Channel sharing my experiences and Helping some people but i enjoy hearing Your stories and please share where You’re farming if you see this and What kind of trees you’re growing and Whatnot i’ve had many people from Different nations and all over the place Here where they’re at but uh anyway my

Story starts with my grandpa mckay he Was a county extension agent he lived up In olympia and he helped farmers all Over that area and there was one farm That he just fell in love with when he Was helping the farmer and he just told Him if you ever want to sell this let me Know and the guy was actually a chicken Farmer and Years later the guy said hey bob i’m Ready to sell do you want it and my Grandpa said yes so my grandpa bought The farm in rochester and uh he he Started growing christmas trees and uh He did well he did several You know he got a little bit later in Life but he did get he did mostly Wholesale but he had several cuttings Where he’d plant and then reca uh cut And replant and go from there but uh one Of the reasons i fell in love with Christmas trees is it was a family event My i have a lot of relatives i live in Southern washington most of my relatives On my mom’s side grandpa mckay side live Up north and we didn’t see them a whole Lot but one time we would see them every Year is we’d all come to grandpa’s farm Which was in between on the same day and We’d all come and get a christmas tree And we need to have a big fire Uh Out there and we’d all do potluck style We’d bring some tables and you know

There’d be the chili and the traditional Warm winter stuff and my uncle that Lived on puget sound and there was an Oyster bed there would bring oysters and We’d cook oysters over the fire that was Just part of the tradition and we’d have Hot chocolate and everybody went and got A christmas tree And they cut it and we stood around the Fire and i visited with my cousins and Played with my cousins and my aunts and Uncles visited and it was just a happy Time and uh we didn’t get together and Share presents and that type of thing we Weren’t uh that close vicinity wise and We all had big enough families that we Didn’t want to do that but we were all Really happy to see each other and uh That’s part of the reason i fell in love With christmas trees is it was a family Event that brought the extended family Together and we got to see each other And so that goes back to my point of It’s about people you know the christmas Tree farming is about people and uh Share the joy share the love so anyway As my grandpa got older he lived to be a Hundred and he was still harvesting his Christmas trees at 90 and working on Himself at 90. so i came and started Actually helping my grandpa And uh on his last set of trees and uh Gained a little bit of knowledge and Then as i bought my property out here on

The property i’m sitting here i had a Little bit of land but it’s really too Steep to christmas tree farm and Everything but grandpa knew i had an Interest so he he gave me 100 100 some Trees i don’t remember the exact amount And i planted them on my property down Below and they did really well They grew well i sheared them they had Nice shape and i was really proud of Them but yeah because i’m I don’t really have even access to i People could drive up to my house but my Trees are even down farther you had to Ride a quad down there and so i couldn’t Open it up for commercial area but uh i Would do similarly to the the family Tradition i told friends you want a free Tree come on up here and uh but we’re Gonna build a fire you have to bring Something to eat with me or we have to Share a s’more with me you don’t get to Come and take a tree and run away We’re going to visit and so a lot of Friends came up and got a free tree and We visited they had a great time friends And family and so Grandpa mckay’s tradition kind of Continued on my property and so then i i Was like i would really like to do this Commercially and and Grow this into a business but i i Couldn’t do it with my existing property So as many as you know i’m also a school

Teacher and i was sitting around The lunch table one day and just talking About my christmas trees and offering Them to friends and and just saying how Much i enjoy christmas trees and i wish I had land that i could Grow on on But i just can’t find a good piece of Property and one of my good friends at The school that i just Transferred to our school that year is Like really he goes Uh i have land but i have no knowledge On how to grow christmas trees and i Said well i have some knowledge but i Have no land he said well let’s become Partners and so uh To this day we’re 20 years later we Still don’t have a written contract Which i Wouldn’t necessarily recommend that but It i has not become an issue We work together uh We we split costs work Income 50 50. uh sometimes you know he’s More available and he gets more work Done and sometimes i’m more available And i get more work done but uh we’re in This together so so 20 years later we’re Still doing the christmas trees together Uh So as i said we started with we Started years ago when the kids were Young barry and i did all the planting

We planted one acre first And started letting those grow up And then we just started planting more And more trees because we knew we wanted To be a u-cut christmas tree farm so we Got that first acre in we knew the first Year we wouldn’t have a ton of customers And you can you know i think we planted About 1500 trees the first year it Wasn’t exactly an acre but it was nobles And grand firs and we started uh growing Those and we’ve expanded Since then and We continued to grow them and then uh You know it’s probably six years later We did our first sale And it was really small because we Didn’t have that many that were uh big Enough yet but we had enough we had Friends in and then from then on we just Grew bigger and bigger and right now we Have way more customers than we have Trees But uh that’s a good situation um But As i say and some things that you might Want to consider that affect you so in Our area where my christmas tree farm is I don’t own the land myself but uh It’s a good thing bad thing the land Value has become Incredibly High uh it’s right on i-5 between uh Just 20 miles north of portland and you

Know people have said portland to Seattle is going to be one city on i-5 Eventually it’s just growing together And so The ridgefield areas a lot of affluent People are building houses so A lot of the people that had christmas Tree farms in the area said why am i Working so hard To make money growing christmas trees When i have 10 acres of land that’s Worth a whole lot of money so they’re Selling it off and that’s been good for Me because now There’s way more customers and quite Honestly the homes that they’re building Here are really nice and so they’re People with money and lots of customers And less competition on the tree farm so If i have trees i don’t have a hard time Selling them but you might want to ask Yourself uh if you’re going into Christmas tree farming where am i going To be for 10 years from now what’s the Market going to be like is there enough People here Are fake christmas trees going to be the Thing then those are all things that you Need to consider but uh our market is Growing and growing growing as and uh Barry whose family owns land uh says he Wants to keep growing christmas trees And keep people from coming right down In on him he wants to have some space

But I will tell you that uh Five acres Of the land owned by his family Uh he had an offer of 1.1 million Dollars for five acres of bear land Which yeah i can’t comprehend that um But i don’t know what the mark is like For you but i mean it is absolutely one Of the nicest pieces of property around Here it’s up on top of the hill looks Down into the valley into the river and Uh at the mountains in the background But uh Anyway uh There was a couple things that held up That deal actually they’ve lowered the Price now to 835 000 for Five bear acres but that doesn’t affect The tree farm but uh so you know the the Desire to sell off some of the land is Going to be there so uh we have to i Have to be aware of that um the other Thing is you know a family member did Build a house right in the middle of the Christmas tree farm so we lost about an Acre of land there but then we’re now Expanding out into More of the family property and so we’re Actually expanding our Field right now So that’s kind of a summary of where We’re at on a real brief overview of how My christmas tree came farm came about

Things you might want to consider you Know are you going to be on land long Enough are you going to want to keep it In trees for 20 years plus are you Going to want to sell it off are you Going to have help There’s a lot of things to think about On the christmas tree farming but it’s Been good to me i have no regrets if i Could go back in time i would definitely Do it again And If you decide to be a christmas tree Farmer and i can help you in any way let Me know

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