Christmas tree season has begun

By Melanie Savage - Staff Writer
Mansfield - posted Tue., Nov. 27, 2012
Eugene loads some branches at his grandfather's tree farm the day after Thanksgiving. Photos by Melanie Savage.
Eugene loads some branches at his grandfather's tree farm the day after Thanksgiving. Photos by Melanie Savage.

A man took out his cell phone to snap a photo. A mother and her little girl sipped hot cocoa on a bench. A man pulled a freshly-cut tree on a cart while his wife, with an infant suspended in a sling in front of her, called out to their toddler. It was the Friday after Thanksgiving, the weather was perfect, and Cedar Ledge Tree Farm was doing a brisk business.

“The crowd grows every year,” said farm owner Kenneth Cone. Last year, Cone estimates he sold about 50 trees the day after Thanksgiving, with a total of 170 going off the lot over the course of the three-day holiday weekend. “We expect to break that this year,” he said. Cone said that the first two weekends of December are traditionally the busiest, and the farm has extra staff on hand to compensate. “Things move along very well,” he said.

Among the helpers the day after Thanksgiving were Cone’s grandchildren: Tavon, Eugene, Jaylina and Amarii. The siblings come every weekend during Christmas tree season from their home in Agawam, Mass. “We come down to help our grandfather,” said Tavon. Tavon was manning the tree shaker and the baler, while Eugene took on miscellaneous chores such as hauling away trimmed branches. Sisters Jaylina and Amarii supervised, and kept an eye on trees while their owners left to pay the cashier or to pull the car around. “We’re spending the night tonight,” said Amarii.

While Ken and the children oversaw the outdoor operations, Ken’s wife Mindy worked with greenery inside the shop. The couple’s two dogs, Ginger and Cassie, kept tabs on everyone, wandering from one location to another with jingle bell collars around their necks. The Christmas shop was added a few years after the farm began growing Christmas trees, back in 1984. The shop carries Christmas items, including garlands, wreaths and a variety of ornaments.

The farm encompasses 80 acres in total. “Fourteen acres are planted in trees,” said Ken, “and we’re expanding that to 30.” Varieties of tree available include spruce (blue, Norway, Serbian, Meyer), pine (white, Scotch, Austrian), and fir (Frasier, Canaan, Concolor, Douglas). There are a number of pre-cut trees available, or patrons can go up into the hills and cut their own. Complimentary tree carts are provided, and shaking, baling and drilling are included with the price of a tree. There is also complimentary hot cocoa provided, and wagon rides on the weekends. “This is a family destination,” said Ken.

Cedar Ledge Tree Farm is located at 260 Coventry Road in Mansfield. It is open weekdays from 3 to 8 p.m., and weekends from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.  For more information, visit cedarledgetreefarm.com.


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