By Kellen M. Quigley
After 11 years in the works, the Red Barn Christmas Farm in Collins offered the opportunity for families to cut their own tree for the first time in 2018. And after a successful inaugural year, owners Kevin and Connie Ploetz are ready for round two.
The tree farm, located on Dupont Road in Collins, is just a 10-minute drive from downtown Springville and offers hundreds of well-manicured trees in five different varieties to choose from.
“The trees are ready, the field is definitely ready,” said Connie Ploetz. “We just have a few things in the barn to straighten up and get ready, but we’ve got time yet.”
Trees currently available include Balsam Fir, Concolor Fir, Canaan Fir, Fraser Fir and Blue Spruce. The largest trees will be blue spruces at 9 feet and under, while many of the firs are 8 feet and under.
Over the past several months, the Ploetzes have been busy planting, spraying, mowing and shearing to get all the trees looking good for this Christmas season. The roughly 6-acre field holds about 7,000 trees, several hundred of which are ready for taking home.
“We add more new ones every year, and of course we sold a few last year,” Connie said.
For your tree-picking adventure, hand saws will be available to use to cut your own trees. Dogs are welcome to join the adventure on leashes, but must be properly trained and cleaned up after.
Sleds will be available to drag trees, or if you need it transported back to your vehicle, there will be a pickup service. Tree baling will also be available at no extra charge.
For their first year, Connie said everything went smoothly, except for the extreme weather. She said there were times with two or three feet of snow, which made it difficult to dig out the trees and haul them to vehicles.
“But boy, everybody had a good attitude and was happy,” she said. “Despite the weather, people were happy because it was Christmas.”
The farm the Ploetzes grew the trees on was Connie’s parents. She said they had the field and farming equipment and she and her husband wanted to do something with them.
“We said, ‘Let’s do Christmas trees. How hard can it be?’” she laughed.
The Ploetzes are members of the Western New York Christmas Tree Farmers Association, a group that meets four times a year and help each other, which Connie said was a big support in helping get the farm going over the previous decade.
For weed control through spraying or not spray to how they plant the new trees, Connie said they’ve learned a lot. “We’ve managed to make every mistake possible, but we’ve overcome.”
New this year is an old sleigh that the Ploetzes worked on revamping all this past year and will be available out in the field for photo opportunities.
“We have a 3D bear out there and people have fun with that,” Connie said. “It scares some of them, but some of them have fun and take pictures with it.”
Another attraction the Ploetzes have going is a future Presidential Candidate tree, which they’re growing in hopes of being a possible tree to go in the White House.
“It’s quite tiny, but we rope it off with a nice chain and we have a sign so people can take pictures with it,” Connie explained.
She said they also play Christmas music out into the field, further developing that holiday scene.
“It’s very festive,” Connie said. “It’s a very unique experience to go out and cut your own tree.”
The farm also has wreaths of many sizes, a variety of table arrangements and holiday photo opportunities on the grounds. Wreaths will be available in 8-inch to 16-inch sizes, with or without decorations.
Pricing will vary by tree and wreath sizes. Arrangements for holiday tables are also available.
The Red Barn Christmas Farm is located at 14002 Dupont Road, Collins, just six miles west of Springville and three miles east of Collins Center. Turn south off Route 39 onto Dupont Road, stay left continue half a mile to red barn on right.
The Red Barn Christmas Farm will open for the season Nov. 29 at 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. After that, Fridays will be noon to 5 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. until Christmas. Call for special times to fit your schedule.
For more information, call (716) 560-6835 or (716) 548-2739, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.