|The Story of:
Strawberry Hill Christmas Tree Farm
Strawberry Hill Christmas Tree Farm had its beginning as a gleam in Eric Walther's eye over 40 years ago. However, it did not begin to become a reality until in 1977 when the first 500 trees were planted on a couple of cold snowy March days by Eric, his wife Lyn, two of their sons; Mitchell and Matthew, and two friends Wil & Lola Ford.
Several years later the name for the Christmas tree farm was suggested by Mitchell. He was aware of the many wild strawberries growing on the 20 acre site along with the slow growing mini forest of pine trees. Hence the name Strawberry Hill Christmas Tree Farm.
The Scotch Pine trees are especially grown in Kansas for Christmas trees. It takes approximately 8-9 years before they are ready for sale. In the meantime they are helping clean and purify the air, as well as being attractive to the eye, and serve as a reminder to those driving by the farm of the spirit of giving and love throughout the year. Each tree that is cut for your home or business is replaced by a new plant the next year. Environmentally we are helping to grow a product on land that is mainly too poor to grow much else.
Each tree must be carefully planted. Roots must be perfectly straight. They cannot be twisted or curved up as they will choke themselves within a few years and die. Planting a dead tree is so easy to do. If the roots are allowed to dry for even a couple of minutes the tree will die. They must be kept moist but not wet at all times. Drought or dry years, as well as very wet years are especially hard on Christmas trees.
Grass must be mowed between each tree as they do not tolerate shade well. There are problems with grass and weeds competing for water and shade with the seedlings and later the larger trees. The grass gives harbor to molds, various larvae, mice and other rodents that live and hide in them. Nearly every time you cut your grass we are cutting grass! It takes approximately 40 hours to mow the farm.
Every tree needs to be sheared (pruned) yearly. This is done in June/July by hand to maintain the traditional Christmas tree shape. Scotch pines can be mighty unruly trees when left unpruned!
Our first sale was a Christmas tree cut by a family in 1984. The following year nearly a hundred trees were sold. By 1996 we had approximately 12,000 trees planted. We continue to grow selling 700+ trees each year. We bring fresh cut trees from Wisconsin and North Carolina, lovely, fragrant Fraser Firs and some White Pine to give you a variety we can’t grow here on The Farm. We also have available fresh wreathes, centerpieces, and some garland. Custom orders are welcomed.
Strawberry Hill Christmas Tree Farm, located on the Old Oregon Trail, is an annual event where there is music, free hayride, hot-spiced cider and “black & white cookies” awaiting you. Gifts and crafts are for sale. There is a ceramic village collection , "Strawberry Hill Christmas Village" for your viewing pleasure. We utilize this village for school field trips to develop oberservation and creative skils. You can also watch wreaths and centerpieces being created while your personally chosen tree is being put on the "shaker." The old, dry needles are removed before they find your living room floor. It there is a bird's nest in your tree we attempt to carefully remove it for you. Then you can put it back in your tree when you arrive home. Tradition says that a bird's nest in the Christmas tree brings good health and fortune to your family for the coming year. We help you load your tree for its journey to your home with a wish for a Happy Christmas Season and a good New Year to you and yours!