Rock Spring, GA
To rip off Buddy the elf, “the best way to spread Christmas cheer is by picking out a fresh tree with those you hold dear” – and in Northwest Georgia, there’s no better place to do that than Raulston Acres Christmas Tree Farm; a family run operation that was started back in 2008 after an idea was brought to life.
“We started out by planting about four hundred and fifty trees and were going to see how that went. That was back in 2008. Those started growing, so we knew we had to grow,” says Dan Raulston Owner of Raulston Acres. “Since our growth cycle was about four years from planting to harvest, we started planting, planting, planting. By the fifth year, we were able to start harvesting our trees. So, that’s sort of a challenge to keep that in play all the time because of the way the trees grow.”
Over the years, they’ve certainly grown their operation, as they now have five thousand trees growing on their farm, that, as you can tell, are full, vibrate, and picture perfect – something Raulston says takes a lot of hard work, but they take great pride in throughout the year to make sure their customers find a product they love and will enjoy throughout the holiday season.
“I would want people to take home a tree, like I would take home a tree. When they leave here with a tree tied onto the top of their car, or in the back of their truck, or on a trailer, I like to think that that’s a part of our farm, leaving our farm, to go to their home and be set up and be a part of their Christmas experience. So, that’s on the back of our minds when we’re in the hot sun trimming these trees, or planting them, or making sure they’ve got enough fertilize. It’s tough, I mean it’s farming, but at the same time that’s sort of the goal that we try for, is to make sure that when people come here, that they’ve got a good product to pick from,” says Raulston.
Of course though, growing beautiful trees is just one part of the puzzle, as Raulston says the experience is just as important, and is why they’ve created a place for families to make memories by getting to choose and cut down their own tree.
“For a lot of folks, this is the only farm that they will be a part of throughout the year. So, we tell everybody that we sell the experience. You can go to these retail lots and buy a tree, but you’re not going to get the same experience that you would get coming on a real farm and cutting your own tree. That’s what people like and that’s what keeps people coming back; is the experience,” says Raulston.
For Raulston, that’s what it’s all about, as he gets to watch families make memories on the farm that they’ll cherish for a lifetime.
“I like to see the families coming on the farm. They’re happy. They’re enjoying themselves and it’s sort of contagious. I enjoy myself when they do and I think the phone doesn’t ring out here unless you want it to, that’s another good thing, but I think that’s the biggest thing that I get enjoyment out of,” says Raulston.
By: John Holcomb