Luke and Katelyn Bruvall work on crafts in Santa’s workshop at the ADSS U-Pick Farm. ELENA RARDON PHOTO

U-Cut Christmas trees enjoying popularity in Alberni Valley

Three U-Cut Christmas tree farms can be found on the way to the Alberni Valley Regional Airport

Drive out down Coleman Road towards the Alberni Valley Regional Airport, and you’ll find three U-Cut Christmas Tree Farms, all with plenty of selection for your perfect Christmas tree this holiday season.

The first stop is Tara Christmas Trees. The 25-acre farm was formerly owned by the Kirkpatricks, but was purchased by Robbie and Olive O’Dwyer a few years ago.

The farm is open daily from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Visitors are provided with a saw and a cart so they can explore the farm’s selection of four different kinds of trees: noble, douglas and grand firs, as well as white pines.

The farm lost a number of trees this year due to weather conditions, said Olive O’Dwyer.

“It was a very harsh winter, then a wet spring, then a dry summer,” she said.

But the tree farm is still standing strong. The trees are replanted every year, then take around seven to eight years to grow fully.

The farm also features a number of “fairy door trails,” inspired by the farm Olive grew up on in Ireland. Children enjoy exploring these trails almost as much as they enjoy the complimentary hot chocolate, hot dogs and marshmallows around the campfire.

Tara Christmas Trees will also have pre-cut trees available at Canadian Tire starting on Friday, Dec. 8.

The next stop on the way to the airport is the ADSS U-Cut Farm. This farm is managed by Alberni District Secondary School students (or “elves”), and all proceeds from Christmas tree sales go towards the rugby programs and the sustainable resource program at ADSS.

Kids can stop by the heated Santa’s Workshop, where they can take part in arts and crafts and enjoy hot dogs, hot chocolate and Christmas music.

The tree farm is open on Fridays from 2 p.m. to dusk, and weekends from 9 a.m. to dusk, until Sunday, Dec. 17. ADSS will also have a number of pre-cut trees at the school grounds on the weekends from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. until Sunday, Dec. 17. You can choose from douglas, noble or grand firs or sequoias.

The last stop is Tom’s Trees, which is located past the airport (just follow the “Tom’s Trees” signs). Tom Verbrugge has been in business for 21 years, ever since his operation was merely a canvas tarp shelter. Christmas trees are a family business, as Tom’s son also owns and operates the Whiskey Creek U-Cut operation just outside of Port Alberni.

“Most of my customers are repeats,” said Verbrugge. “It becomes tradition.”

Although, he added, he notices more and more new faces each year.

“U-Pick is generally picking up,” he said. “I’m pretty pleased with this.”

His farm is located on 10 and a half hectares of land, in a low-grow area where it takes around 12 years for a tree to grow. Verbrugge waits for the trees to reach a certain height before he begins shearing.

The farm is open every weekend in December from 10 a.m. to dusk. He offers noble, grand and douglas firs. Pre-cut trees are also available at the high school and at No Frills.

“I sold about 2,000 trees this year to Campbell River, Comox, Courtenay,” he added.

Like Tara Christmas Trees, Verbrugge also lost about 100 trees this year because of the drought.

Despite this, and despite all the action from the nearby airport expansion, Verbrugge has still remained in business, and still enjoys seeing customers both new and old arriving every year.

“Some of them are here for the hot dogs, some of them are here for the trees,” he said.

elena.rardon@albernivalleynews.com

 

The “fairy palace” in the fairy door trails at Tara Christmas Trees. ELENA RARDON PHOTO

Just Posted

Tommy Chong says cannabis legalization makes him proud to be a Canadian

Legendary marijuana advocate and comedian celebrates cultural milestone at Kelowna event

Coast Guard vessel open for second day of public tours on Alberni waterfront

Talk to marine scientists, learn about research equipment on CCGS Vector

Port Alberni walks for World Food Day

John Paul II Catholic School students walked to end world hunger

San Group announces plans to build new sawmill in Port Alberni

San Group has purchased 25 acres of Catalyst Paper land on Stamp Avenue for its expansion

Two Port Alberni cannabis dispensaries raided on legalization day

Leaf Compassion and Cannabis Club ticketed for “unlawful sale” of cannabis

Singer k.d. lang receives Alberta’s highest honour

Celebrated singer-songwriter k.d. lang received the Alberta Order of Excellence in Edmonton

‘Mom, I’m in trouble:’ Canadian faces 10 years for alleged graffiti

Brittney Schneider, another tourist caught spraying message on walls of Tha Pae Gate in Thailand

Feds consulting on national anti-racism strategy behind closed doors

Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez says people still face systemic racism in some communities

Enbridge aims for mid-November to finish B.C. pipeline repair after blast

A natural gas pipeline that ruptured and burned near Prince George caused an explosion and fireball

How to get government cheques if Canada Post staff go on strike

The Canadian Union of Postal Workers said members could go on rotating strikes as early as Monday

Anti-SOGI school trustee files defamation lawsuit against BCTF president

Barry Neufeld says Glen Hansman’s words caused him “indignity,” “personal harassment,” and “anxiety”

Ocean ‘blob’ returns to B.C.’s North Coast

A 2,000 kilometre patch of warm ocean water could signal a warm winter in Prince Rupert

Pot sales down by nearly 70% on Day 2 of legalization in B.C.

Several products on BC Cannabis Store are still sold out

B.C. jury finds man guilty of Japanese exchange student’s murder

Natsumi Kogawa was found at empty heritage mansion shortly after she was reported missing in 2016

Most Read