by Ari-Ahna Everett, Elisabeth Souther–
Strung with lights, placed meticulously with ornaments, and topped off with a shinning star, the Christmas tree is a staple figure of the holidays. But where did your tree’s journey begin? Whether you purchased your tree from a store or a lot, your tree has an origin. In Virginia, the New River Valley has many large Christmas tree farms like Joe’s Trees, Rifton Farm and Nursery, and Sweet Providence. These farms offer choose and cut services, festive activities, and countless opportunities to make lasting memories.
Since 1962, the Bostic family has been sheering, planting, mowing, and selling Christmas Trees in Newport, Virginia. Second generation tree farmer, Sue Bostic, says that Joe’s Trees has been family owned and operated for over 50 years. Sue’s father Joe introduced his family to the tree business after he learned to grow Christmas tree’s through a 4H project. Today, Sue and her family grow White Pine, Fraser Fir, Canaan Fir, Blue Spruce, and Wild Cedars. Their trees range from 5 ft. to 15 ft. and span over 300 acres of rolling hills. Joe’s Trees offer their award-winning hand-made wreaths, holiday merchandise in their retail shop, hayrides, and photography opportunities with their ponies. Kathi Toelke, a seasonal wreath maker says, “The kids are always in awe…”
Rifton Farm and Nursey
Located in Pilot, Virginia, Rifton Farm and Nursery is the talk of the town this year. Robert O’Keeffe the owner of the farm was honored to have one of his 14 ft. Canaan Fir’s selected as the 2016 Governor’s Mansion Christmas tree. O’Keeffe said the winning tree will leave its home of 18 years to head to its final destination in Richmond, Virginia. Rifton Farm and Nursey has been in business since 1975 and today they have over 40 acres and 20,000 trees to choose from. The family-owned farm offers Fraser fir, Canaan Fir, Colorado Blue Spruce, Norway Spruce, Serbian Spruce, and White Pine trees as well as fresh wreaths and garlands. With its recent rise to fame, the O’Keeffe family expects to have a great season.
The family-run, family-owned tree farm, Sweet Providence is located in Floyd, Virginia with a retail lot at Tanglewood Mall in Roanoke, Virginia. Since 2005, the farmers have grown Fraser Fir, White Pine, Blue Spruce, Scotch Pine and Concolor Fir trees. Their family-friendly store at their Floyd property offers souvenirs for all ages. The Sweet Providence Christmas store is considered “a family tradition”; offering hand-made wooden toys and ornament, homemade wreaths, and now features Red Rooster Coffee and goods. Their passion is to create memories that will last for their customers.
Joe’s Trees, Rifton Farm and Nursery, and Sweet Providence are all members of the Virginia Christmas Tree Growers Association (VCTGA). The VCTGA states on their website that, “professional Christmas tree growers in the association, work to expand the farming industry by growing and marketing quality trees.” Learn more about your tree and add to your Christmas traditions; head to a tree farm near you.