If you are thinking of a fresh-cut Christmas tree this year, Mill Farm Christmas Trees and Berries in Williamsburg is the only place on the Peninsula to get one. And owners Bill and Mary Apperson will gladly help you choose the perfect tree for your home.
“Choosing a Christmas tree is very personal. It depends on the aroma and color you want and the size of the room,” says Mary Apperson.
Bill Apperson agrees. “You never know what someone is going to pick. Trees I wouldn’t think of cutting down are someone else’s treasure.”
The Leland cypress is the most popular tree because it does not shed and it lasts from Thanksgiving through Christmas. But it also doesn’t have the typical pine aroma.
Besides selling the Leland cypress at $6 a foot, Mill Farm also sells white pines at $6 a foot and both spruce and firs for $7 a foot.
The only pre-cut trees the Appersons sell are the Frazier firs which grow high in the mountains. But they are shipped to the farm immediately after their cut so they are always fresh, Mary says.
But how do you know the tree you choose is fresh, no matter where it comes from?
According to Mary, if you run your hand along a branch and get pine needles the tree is not fresh. The trunk of the tree should be sappy near the cut as the tree attempts to heal. Also, snap a few needles to detect the aroma to see if it is what you like.
And most importantly, remember that most homes have eight-foot ceilings so make sure the tree is not too big to put the angel on top. Also, with pre-cut trees, watch for color enhancement. If you run your hand along the needles, and it comes off green, the color has been enhanced, Mary says.
The most important thing to remember while you have a live tree is to water, water and water it some more.
Because of insurance, the Appersons cut all the trees, but people start choosing which tree they want right around Halloween and use some sort of special ornament or tie to mark it as theirs.
The trees take between five and seven years to grow into being full-size Christmas tree. And on Apperson’s farm, they need to be shaped every year to take on the traditional cone-shaped look. After the Christmas season, the Appersons plant between two and three thousand seedlings to replace those cut down. About 30 percent of those seedlings will not make it to a full grown tree.
“It’s all personal preference – fresh cut, pre-cut or artificial,” Mary says. but at Mill Farm, it’s fresh.