Choose and Cut Your Own Christmas Tree! A Guide to Local Tree Farms

In central Virginia, the time-honored tradition of choosing and cutting down your own Christmas tree is alive and well. Imagine walking among rows of conifers grown for this purpose, reaching out to touch the needles to test their spring and strength, their ability to carry the weight of treasured ornaments, and taking in the distinct smell that these evergreens lend to the season. Not only does picking out your own tree to cut give you a memorable experience, it ensures the freshness of your tree, too, as many pre-cut trees may have been cut weeks before being sold. And in the verdant countryside surrounding Charlottesville, there are plenty of Christmas tree farms from which to choose your tree.

Greene County

Greene Meadows Christmas Tree Farm | 487 Crow Mountain Road, Stanardsville, VA

Run by the Ensor family, this farm has over 7 acres of planted Christmas trees to choose from. The six species of conifers they offer are White Pine, Scotch Pine, White Spruce, Canaan Fir, Leyland Cypress, and Red Cedar, each priced according to species, rather than by size. At the Christmas Shop you will be welcomed with complimentary hot chocolate or cider and a candy cane while you peruse gift items, ornaments, wreaths, and the farm’s homemade preserves, jellies, and relishes. On the weekends, local youth organizations such as the Boy Scouts will be nearby selling hot dogs, hamburgers, sodas, and baked goods to benefit their operations. And there is also a miniature petting zoo of sheep and lambs eagerly awaiting their human visitors.

Madison County

Stonehearth Christmas Tree Farm | 367 Kirtley Road, Leon, VA

Just off 29 North in Madison County, Stonehearth Christmas Tree Farm sells White Pines, Scotch Pines, Red Pines, Virginia Pines, and Canaan Firs, all priced at $35 each. Their wreaths are made from White and Scotch Pine in varying sizes. A complimentary hot chocolate, hot apple cider, or coffee awaits each visitor, and each child will receive a free candy cane and coloring book. The farm will be open on the weekends, and during the week purchases may be made at the gray house.

Culpeper County

‘Peper’mint Christmas Tree Farm | 12063 Eggbornsville Road, Culpeper, VA

With a festive name that also gives a nod to the nearby town of Culpeper, the Bartlett family farm has been selling Christmas trees since 1986. After such a healthy run, they have decided to permanently close up shop at the end of the 2016 holiday season. Their remaining available conifers are priced to sell with White Pines going for $25 each, and Norway Spruce and Canaan Fir going for $35 each. They will be open December 3-4 and December 10-11 from 10:00 am – 4:00 pm. Their shop is supplied with complimentary mulled cider and candy canes, and there are wreaths and decorative swags for sale.

Orange County

Miller Farms Market | 12101 Orange Plank Road, Locust Grove, VA

In Orange County, Miller Farms Market is an operational farm that offers a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program 33 weeks out of the year, hosts pick-your-own events during berry season, and sells many local and regional products in their Marketplace year-round. During the holiday season, they add Christmas trees to their list of homegrown goods for sale. You can choose from White Pine, Canaan Fir, Norway Spruce, and Colorado Blue Spruce, with prices ranging from $24-80. They are open Monday-Saturday, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm, and closed on Sundays.

Louisa County

Claybrooke Farm | 912 Elk Creek Road, Mineral, VA 23117

This family farm has been planting Christmas trees since 1984 and has expanded in acreage and offerings. Available species now include Canaan Fir, Douglas Fir, Nordman Fir, Concolor Fir, White Spruce, and Blue Spruce and prices range from $29-79, dependent on size. Upon arrival, you can view samples of each kind to get a better sense of what you might like. Their gift shop, the Gathering Barn, is stocked with Virginia products, ornaments, and accessories. And in good weather you can even take a wagon ride. The farm will be open on weekends, December 3-18, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm.

Buckingham County

Foxfire Christmas Tree Farm | 451 Foxfire Road, Scottsville, VA

Owned and operated by the Samuels family since 1968, this family farm sells fresh Douglas Fir, Norway Spruce, and White Pine trees as well as Scotch Pine wreaths and garlands. They are open Thursday-Monday, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm through December 22, but they note that during the week there is limited help for loading.

Nelson County

Saunders Brothers Farm Market | 2717 Tye Brook Highway, Piney River, VA 22964

This family run farm has operated as an apple orchard since 1915! Throughout the year, Saunders Brothers grows fruits and vegetables, and every year following Thanksgiving they open their tree farm to the public. Conifer selections include Canaan Fir, Norway Spruce, Blue Spruce, White Pine, and Scotch Pine. This year the trees are up to 8 feet tall and prices range from $5-8 per foot, depending on which variety you choose. Their Farm Market is currently stocked with handmade wreaths, fresh evergreen swags, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, and a variety of apples. The tree farm is open Fridays, 1:00 – 4:00 pm and Saturdays, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm, now through December 17.

Augusta County

Boys Home Christmas Tree Farm | 1118 Bear Wallow Flat, West Augusta, VA

An hour from Charlottesville, in the Allegheny Highlands, Boys Home offers a residential educational and care facility for boys aged 6-18. For over 20 years, part of their program of instilling responsibility and discipline has included teaching their students the practices of tree farming, from planting seedlings to shearing, harvesting, and assisting customers with their tree selections. Among the conifer varieties they offer are White Pine and Norway Spruce and the money from sales goes right back into supporting Boys Home. They are open Fridays and weekends through December 23, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm.

Long Meadow Tree Farm | 296 Miller Road, Waynesboro, VA

This family farm has been in operation since 1981. Their planted conifers include White Pine, Scotch Pine, Douglas Fir, Concolor Fir, Norway Spruce, and Blue Spruce. They also sell handmade wreaths and table arrangements (made from fresh cut greenery and one or two candles), along with winter squashes, honey, homemade apple butter, and farm fresh eggs. They are open daily from 10:00 am – 5:00 pm.

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Local Turkey for Thanksgiving!

The opportunity to gather with our loved ones for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday is upon us. With less than two weeks to go, it’s a good time to consider the local turkeys our area has to offer.

Kelly Bronze in Crozet

The Kellys had raised bronze turkeys for over 30 years in the United Kingdom when they decided to open their first U.S. satellite location in Crozet in 2014 at Heritage Glenn Farm. Operators Cari and Judd Culver had partnered with the Kellys in 2012 while living in Scotland and proposed the satellite location upon their return to the States. All of the turkeys on the Crozet farm are raised completely free range. When purchasing a turkey from Kelly Bronze you have many options, from 10 lbs. to 25 lbs. In addition to being bronze rather than white turkeys, Kelly bronze turkeys are distinguished by the slow process through which they are raised and dried. First, the birds are allowed to mature fully. Then after they are slaughtered, they are dry plucked by hand and dry aged for up to 14 days, with the result that the meat is more tender and flavorful. And according to the Kellys, their turkeys have enough natural fat to make basting completely unnecessary. Their website is set up to accept orders online and they do deliver.

Polyface Farm in Augusta County |43 Pure Meadows Lane, Swoope, VA 24479 | 540-885-3590

Less than an hour west of Charlottesville in Augusta County, the Salatin family of Polyface Farm has embodied environmentally-friendly, sustainable farming practices since 1961. There was even an article published about them in Smithsonian Magazine in June 2000. The Salatins raise their pastured turkeys on local grains and as much grass as they can eat. The turkeys are kept safe in an open-air paddock that is moved every couple of days to a fresh plot of grass. They also have access to a portable hoop house where they can seek shelter. Their turkeys are available for purchase at Rebecca’s Natural Foods and Foods of All Nations in Charlottesville.

Long Roots Farm in Augusta County | 254 Campbells Hollow Road, Middlebrook, VA 24459 | 540-335-3952

This family farm run by Charles and Anna Long, also in Augusta County, raises pastured turkeys that forage their fields and eat GMO-free grain made in the Shenandoah Valley. They reside in open paddocks with netting to keep them safe from predators and are rotated on a weekly basis to allow for fresh grazing and sanitary conditions. As it happens, Charles is very well-acquainted with today’s commercialized turkey farms because he’s the grandson of Jim Long, the founder of Virginia’s first mass-producing turkey farm. While working in the family business, Charles developed an interest in free-range, sustainable farming. The farm requires a $25 deposit when reserving a Thanksgiving turkey, which will be applied to the total cost of the order. Orders are for pick-up only.

Beatrix Farm in Shenandoah County | Toms Brook, VA 22660

About an hour and a half north of Charlottesville, Beatrix Farm is home to pasture-raised turkeys whose diet of foraged goods is supplemented with non-GMO grain. Dave and Regina Farinholt began the farm almost a decade ago and this year they are also offering Muscovy duck for Thanksgiving orders if you are interested in branching out. Reservations are required and the fresh, not frozen, turkeys are available as early as November 19.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and may your table be graced with all that our local agriculture has to offer!