Nov. 24—At North Corner Farm in Burton Township, more than three decades of raising and selling Christmas trees began as a way for a family to contribute to their children's tuition.
"It just grew from there," said John Wolfram, who runs the farm with his wife Mary Lou and their family members.
He noted that the Wolframs have planted trees at North Corner, named for its location at the corner of Butternut and Claridon-Troy roads, since about 1988. In the 34 years since, the family-run farm has grown multiple varieties of Christmas trees on what is now approximately 3 acres of land.
"We're going on the third generation of Christmas tree growing," said Wolfram, who grew up on the property. "We have customers that came here to get a Christmas tree when they were first married and had little children, and now their kids are coming, so we're seeing repeat customers that come every year."
According to Wolfram, the types of trees grown at North Corner include Scotch pines, white pines, Norway spruces, blue spruces and fir trees such as Canaan firs. The farm also imports Fraser firs from North Carolina, which are among the trees that stand along the property facing Butternut Road.
"It takes about seven to 10 years to get them fully mature," he said, at which point they are ready to sell.
Wolfram also noted that growing Christmas trees has a positive environmental impact, as they remain green and produce oxygen year-round.
After North Corner cuts and sells trees for the season, he said that the growers take the seeds to be planted in the spring. Throughout much of the rest of the year, they will cut the grass and tend to the trees.
"In early summer, June-July, we have to trim the trees," Wolfram said. "Especially the pines need to be trimmed at a certain time when they're getting fresh growth on their branches, so you trim them with shearing knives and pruning shears and things like that."
As the holiday season approaches, he said that North Corner will make Christmas decorations such as swags and wreaths. Kindergarteners will come for farm tours, while the farm's staff will drive prospective customers out into the field to look at trees.
North Corner uses a "choose and cut" model, Wolfram explained, where customers can select a tree and someone from the farm will cut it for them. Then the tree will be baled and placed in a net, and the farm's workers will help customers load the trees onto their vehicles.
Hot chocolate and homemade cookies are also be available for customers, he noted.
Wolfram explained that he most enjoys seeing customers old and new, saying, "A lot of our customers are like family. We get to see them every year they come get a tree and so, that's part of the enjoyment, seeing people take home a fresh-cut tree and then to have an enjoyable Christmas."
Mary Lou added that she enjoys "seeing the younger children especially getting so excited about going out and finding a tree."
In addition to selling Christmas trees during the holiday season, North Corner Farm also sells produce in the summer. More information can be found on the farm's website at northcornerfarm.com.
North Corner Farm is located at 13880 Butternut Road in Burton Township. The Wolframs can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 440-785-3692.
According to Mary Lou, the farm will sell Christmas trees from Nov. 25 to Dec. 22 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. People can visit Mondays through Thursdays by appointment.
"It's kind of a tradition for people to get real-live trees, as opposed to the ones that require a lot of oil to build, the fake trees," John Wolfram said. "That's the other advantage of real trees is the fact that they're all natural, and who doesn't like a fresh-cut Christmas tree and the aroma that they give off?"