At Nature Supply Co, supporting our local farmers is something that is near and dear to our hearts. From cultivating a more sustainable future, to meeting the faces behind the food that nourish our families, we hope to foster a community of connection and gratitude for the modern family farm. It is our hope that with this series, we can be an encouragement to their businesses and show our thanks for all that they give to their communities.
Tis the season! This week, we are honored to introduce you to Will and Kate Carter and Needle & Pine Tree Farms in Johnstown, Ohio! Will and Kate share their story of how they got started with their Christmas tree farm as well as their love for the holiday season! Check out their interview below!
We are so glad you are here! Can you tell us a bit about yourselves and how Needle & Pine came to be?
We are Will and Kate Carter, owners of Needle & Pine Tree Farms, LTD. We grow high quality Christmas trees ready for you to cut right here in the small town of Johnstown, Ohio!
We are actually pretty new to the Christmas tree farm business and we got our start thanks to our wonderful neighbors, Bob and Bev Eddy, who own a nursery and landscaping company. Will worked at a tree farm during high school and it was always something he thought could be fun when we had the time and space needed for it. Tree farming is not our full time careers, Kate works as a first grade teacher and Will is a civil engineer and superintendent working for a large construction firm.
What led you to Christmas trees? We'd love to hear about how you made that decision!
We chose to do Christmas trees because we both have great memories of going out to pick the perfect tree with our families for Christmas and we are happy that we will be able to help others gain those same memories. We love the fact that this is truly a family business, where everyone is involved in one way or another. We cherish the time together either out in the fields or around the dinner table discussing our plans for the future. Tree farming is great for us because we love to be outside working the land but don’t want to devote our entire careers to agriculture. With this kind of farm we are able to pursue other passions and work on the farm during the weekends and evenings.
What are some of the challenges you face as Christmas tree farmers?
As with any type of farming activity the hardest part is always the weather and unknowns. We could have a dry hot summer which could really stunt the growth of the trees or even destroy them. There are also unwanted pests and diseases that are harmful. The other challenge that comes with tree farming is the fact that we have to wait 5-7 years before a tree is ready to be cut. That is a long time to tie up the land.
What is the best part of running a Christmas tree farm?
The best part of owning a Christmas tree farm is the relationships that we have made and the fact that we will get to help others develop life long memories and traditions centered around the best time of the year. We love being outside and every time we look out at our fields there is a sense of pride that comes along with growing these trees.
What are your goals for your Christmas tree farm?
Our main goal at this point is to be able to be open consistently every year starting in 2018. Although we won’t be the biggest farm, we want to make sure that we have the highest quality trees in central Ohio. We also hope to build a new barn to house the Christmas tree farm and a small retail shop where we will sell all things Christmas and Needle & Pine.
Do you have any advice for those who are interested in farming?
Don’t be afraid to ask questions! There are a lot of people out there with a lot of excellent knowledge that they would gladly share with you. Most of these farmers are some of the best business people around and that kind of knowledge is hard to come by for free.
Do you have any favorite resources you could share with us?
Check out the Ohio Christmas Tree Association!
Be sure to check out Needle & Pine Farms on Instagram at needle.pine.farm and on Facebook as Needle & Pine Tree Farm. If you happen to be in the Johnstown Ohio area stop by and say hi!
We would love to hear about how you support your local farmers! You can show your support for Will and Kate as well as other small, local farmers by purchasing one of our many Support Your Local Farmer items! We have tees available in a variety of style and color options for both kids and adults. We also carry a reusable canvas tote bag to take to your local farmers' market.
WE GIVE BACK! With your help, we plant one acre of wildflowers each month through the Bee & Butterfly Habitat Fund. Learn more about this amazing organization here.
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