It's Tree Time!

It’s that time of year again…tree-trimmin’ time! Join me, the Suburban Farmgirl, and my family as we head to our favorite tree farm on the hunt for the perfect specimen!

After deciding that when it comes to Christmas trees, fresh really is better (isn’t that true of everything?) our family adopted another yearly family tradition:  the cutting of a tree.  Now, I know not everyone who lives in a suburb has a tree farm nearby, but we’re blessed to have a beautiful tree farm just ‘round the corner.

There’s little wooden roadside signs around, pointing to the direction of the Medridge tree farm. When we pull in, I can’t help but think how pretty Connecticut really is. Heading off the winding country-like road into the driveway, I’m reminded of a scene from vintage postcards.  There’s a little red barn for an office, and an old wooden sled decorates the front. My daughter bounces with excitement in her seat before we can even turn the engine of the car off.

Checking in at the office,  we’re greeted by the owner, Julia Wasserman. In addition to being a tree farmer, Julia Wasserman was also our state representative, serving eighteen years in office.  I got to thinking, “Just how does someone become a Christmas tree farmer?”

Julia Wasserman

The Wassermans bought their farm over fifty-two years ago.  Julia’s late husband, a physician, loved tree farming as a hobby and planted trees all over the property.  She says he just kept adding more and more, until eventually they realized they’d planted a plantation!  That’s when they decided to sell trees, over thirty years ago, and Medridge tree farm was born.  The name is taken from “middle of the ridge”, referring to the terrain.

Julia says that there’s about twenty-five acres dedicated to the trees, all spread out. I love that it’s not just a “clump”of trees, making our experience more authentic.  I feel just like Ma, Pa, and Laura Ingalls as we head ‘round the pond to find our perfect tree!  I know that we’re making memories my daughter will have for a lifetime.

We want this one!”

Not wanting to be like Clark Griswold, and heeding Julia’s gentle warning that the trees always look smaller in the open than they do once you get them inside, we find our tree, perfectly-shaped around five-feet tall or so. My husband cuts it down in just minutes, with a little hand saw.  When we first started this tradition, my daughter seemed so tiny.  The trees now no longer look like great, big giants next to her.  (She’s also learned not to stand too close to Daddy when he saws, as it never falls in the direction he says it’s going to).  As we walk down the bend back to the office, this year it’s Audrey who carries the tree with her dad, and I get a visual of how much she’s grown up, right before our eyes.  Walking behind them, a gentle breeze blows the amazing balsam scent my way…it smells of Christmas!

Through the years, the farm has tried different types of trees, learning which species worked best, and were the most disease-resistant.  The trees growing at Medridge are white spruce and blue spruce trees, which Julia says are “very good trees for Christmas trees, holding up very well.”   Showing her the tree we’ve just cut, she tells us we’ve picked a white spruce – just beautiful! I love its soft needles, as opposed to sharp ones from other types.  Julia tells me it takes time and care to be a tree farmer. They must carefully maintain the area around each tree, mowing regularly, and keep pests and vines away.  The trees grow around a foot a year. (Think about that the next time you see the beautiful lit tree at Rockefeller Center, New York)!

Baby trees!!

Julia advises to keep the tree away from hot sources.  In caring for a cut tree she says, most important of all,  the tree holder must be filled with water at all times.  A fresh cut tree will drink a lot of water, and keeping it from drying out is so important.  Julia says it’s best to cut your tree as close to Christmas as you can, and  a properly cared-for cut tree should last three to four weeks without dropping needles.

We load our tree on the roof of our car, and bid Julia and her farm goodbye, until next year. She’s such a busy lady, and still does some work for the state.  She says the best part of being a tree farmer is seeing all the people coming back each year, with their kids.  I smile, thinking her farm is one of the best things of our Christmas, too.

Hope you enjoyed our visit to the tree farm, and that you‘re having a wonderful holiday season so far!  Remember to leave me a comment so I know you dropped by!  Nicole

  1. Denise Sexton says:

    Beautiful tree and enjoyed the trip with you and your family!

    Thank you, Denise!  Thanks for stopping by! -Nicole

  2. Adrienne says:

    What a terrific story and a beautiful tree to create more memories for your family! Enjoy.

    Thanks, Adrienne!  I realize how lucky we are to have Mrs. Wasserman’s farm so nearby.  Not everyone gets to have such a neat experience, and I am so happy to be able to see my daughter so excited over something so simple as cutting a tree.  Have a wonderful holiday!  Farmgirl hugs, Nicole

  3. Barb Delaney says:

    I love taking this virtual road trips with you and your family. I can’t wait to see your tree and of course catch up with all my Farmgirl Sisters on Saturday.

    Thanks, Barb!  Audrey and I can’t wait to see you and Emily Saturday, too! -Nicole

  4. Holly Kamal says:

    You are truly giving your daughter memories to last a lifetime.

    Holly, thank you!  I hope so…you’re only little once.  🙂  Thanks for visiting! -Nicole

  5. Debbie says:

    Merry Christmas Nicole!
    I loved my visit to the Tree Farm!…. I bet is smells wonderful!!!
    Love and hugs and a safe and happy holiday season!
    Your beach blog’n sis Deb

    Hi Deb!  Thanks for visiting…much love to you, too!  I’m sure you are busy decking your halls, too!  Hope you and your family have a great holiday season, as well.Nicole

  6. Nicole,You remind me when we used to cut a Christmas tree from Quail Run, our farm. The first time we cut a cedar tree for our home in the city. The little tree we picked in the woods looked small until we tried to tie it on the car! When I finally got it on the car we couldn’t find the car so we cut it down! When we got it in the house it was so tall it bent over so much we decided to go buy one at the store. You have come a long way. Love Dad

    Oh Daddy!  That is so funny!  I remember all the times we cut Christmas trees!  I also remember you ALWAYS cut me a little special tree, just for my room.  Audrey has a little (faux) tree in her room, just the same size.  When she was very little, she swore, just like I used to as a tot, that she saw Santa put a present under that tree!  -Nicole

  7. Laurie Dimino says:

    Love the adventure, Nicole. Here on Long Island we are lucky enough to have several tree farms out East too. There is nothing quite like the experience of "harvesting" your own Christmas Tree!
    Enjoyed the pictures- your tree looks BEAUTIFUL!!

    Thank you Laurie!  This year we did white lights, which I love best on the tree, but to be honest, Iam still getting used to the LED ones.  Not quite the same as traditional, but beautiful nonetheless.  Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting!  Merry Christmas, Nicole

  8. Denise Adams says:

    Nicole that was a great trip. Love the tree you picked and it decorated so beautiful! Thanks for all the fun! Love Nisee (denise adams)

    Hi Denise!  So glad you enjoyed the visit!!  I do have to say we got a really pretty tree this year, no bare spots, just the right height!  It even has little baby pine cones in it…and the smell!  Oh my goodness! The scent is amazing.  Hope you have an amazing holiday!  Merry Christmas and much love, Nicole

  9. Beverly Battaglia says:

    Nicole, I cannot believe how tall Audrey looks now. Looks like y’all were having a lot of fun. Decorated tree is beautiful.
    Enjoyed reading this blog. Merry Christmas! Love you,


    Hi Mom!  Thanks!  We all thought of you decorating the tree with some of the ornaments you gave us.  Wish you could see it in person.  Told ya Audrey is growing fast…time for a visit!  -Nicole

  10. CR LaGroue says:

    I enjoyed the blog..It did remind me of when were growing up and dad would cut a cedar tree for christmas…nice pictures you took for the blog.

    Thanks!  This tree isn’t as "prickly" as the trees I remember from the farm.  -Nicole

  11. Sandy says:

    We have been cutting our Christmas tree at various farms for about 30 years. Our daughters are now 32, and now we cut with our two grandsons as well. We have such a blast! One daughter has a fake tree, but she comes with us cutting for the fun of it! The boys usually take their sleds and swoop down the hills while we search for the perfect tree for each family. However, no snow this year when we cut, they were disappointed! Enjoyed your story and pictures.

    Sandy, how wonderful to hear about your long-standing family tradition!  How special for your daughters and grandchildren!  Thank you for sharing with us. -Nicole

  12. Nancy says:

    What a wonderful tradition! Thank you so much for sharing it with us!

    You’re welcome…thanks so much for "stopping by"! -Nicole

  13. Betty says:

    I loved going along with you on your trip to the tree farm. It brought back memories of picking out our tree when I was a little girl. Now my husband prefers artificial, but I add a Christmas scent to the tree.

    Betty, thank you for sharing! I’m so glad you enjoyed our "visit". -Nicole

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