Looking for ‘THE’ tree

Artificial or real?
By DENNIS WYATT

According to the American Christmas Tree Association, 80 percent of us that put up Christmas trees will be artificial this year.

And if you opt for real the odds are you are going to drop by a big box retailer to select your tree, and not an independent tree lot with the traditional trappings such as a fire pit that went the way off the dodo bird in California due to air quality rules.

That said, hardly anyone seems to bundle up the kids, pile into the family in the station wagon, and then head to the hills anymore in search of the perfect Christmas tree.

It’s an experience that’s worth doing at least once with your kids — or grandkids.

Selecting a Christmas tree in a fenced off area on a parking lot isn’t the same magic as running around a Christmas tree farm in the hills looking for “the perfect” tree. Granted, it is a Christmas tree farm so it isn’t like venturing out into the woods for a Curry & Ives moment. But there is a lot to be said about making a Christmas tree search a half day or a day-long family outing.

While independent Christmas tree lots around communities like Turlock and Manteca were once a dime a dozen, Christmas tree farms were more like a dollar a dozen.

But the shift to artificial trees and big box retailers didn’t just whittle down the independent tree lots but it also slashed the number of Christmas tree farms left in California. The last drought didn’t help things much.

There are still five Christmas tree farms nestled in the foothills of Tuolumne and Calaveras counties:

TUOLUMNE COUNTY

Bramble Hill Christmas Tree Farm
LOCATION & CONTACT INFO:
12161 Cattle Drive Trail, Columbia, call 209-532-5629 or email [email protected]
DIRECTIONS:
Take Parrotts Ferry Road into Columbia. Turn onto Jackson Street and go one short block and turn left at the stop sign. They are 2 miles out Italian Bar Road. You will be able to follow their signs.
HOURS:
Open 10 a.m. until dark. Closed Tuesday and Wednesday. Open Thursday through Monday until sold out. You’re advised to call if it’s close to Christmas.
TREE OPTIONS:
Douglas Fir, White Fir, Nordman Fir, Myer Spruce, Scotch Pine, Sierra Redwood, Cedar, and others

Twain Harte Tree Farm
LOCATION & CONTACT INFO:
21730 Moore Drive, Twain Harte, call 209-586-7666, website is TwainHarteTreeFarm.com
DIRECTIONS:
1½ miles south of Twain Harte on Tuolumne City Rod.
HOURS:
Open until Dec. 9 from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. weekdays, and 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekends
TREE OPTIONS:
Douglas Fir, White Fir, Sierra Redwood, Scotch Pine, Incense Cedar
NOTES: Trees over 10 feet available, free candy canes, reserving trees, free garland/boughs, Christmas gift shop, apple cider/refreshments.

CALAVERAS COUNTY

Alto Tree Farm
LOCATION & CONTACT INFO:
839 Spink Road, West Point, email [email protected]
DIRECTIONS:
From Jackson, Take Highway 88 east 15 miles to Highway 26 (Red Corral Road), to West Point Main Street. Turn right on Spink Road, 2/10 mile to farm. Follow signs to 839 Spink Road
HOURS:
Sales are Saturday and Sundays only from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. By appointment only on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday (days they are closed).
TREE OPTIONS:
Douglas Fir, White Fir, Cedar, Redwood, Scotch Pine, White Fir, and Blue Spruce
NOTES: You can enjoy a ride with Santa, trees over 10 feet available, picnic area, hay/wagon/tractor rides, free candy canes, free coffee, free garland/boughs, apple cider/refreshments.

Anderson Christmas Tree Farm
LOCATION & CONTACT INFO:
1743 Mustang Road, Murphys, email [email protected] or the website is andersontreefarm.net/Site/Christmas_tree_Farm.html
DIRECTIONS:
Take Highway 4 to Pennsylvania Gulch Road. Travel about 1 mile on Pennsylvania Gulch Road then turn right on Skunk Ranch Road. Travel about 1/4 mile and turn left onto Mustang Road. Mustang road is the gravel road to the left. The farm is about 300 yards up the hill on the left.
HOURS:
Open every day except Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
TREE OPTIONS:
Douglas Fir, Scotch Pine. Cedar, Sequoia, and Fresh cut Noble Fir, Nordman and Grand Fir
NOTES: Trees over 10 feet available, wreathes and garlands for sale, picnic area, hay/wagon/tractor rides, free candy canes, reserving trees, maps and brochures available to callers, free garland/boughs, freshly cut trees of other species available, Christmas Gift Shop, School Tours available by reservation.

Cal Sierra Tree Farm
LOCATION & CONTACT INFO:
438 Stanley Road, West Point, call 209-293-7939, website www.calsierratreefarm.com
DIRECTIONS:
Highway 88 to Highway 26 to Stanley Road
HOURS:
Open through Dec. 24, hours: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays or by appointment
TREE OPTIONS:
Tree Varieties: White Fir, Red Fir, Silvertip, Incense Cedar, Ponderosa Pine, Sugar Pine and Douglas Fir
NOTES: Trees over 10 feet available, wreathes and garlands for sale, picnic area, free candy canes, reserving trees, free coffee, maps and brochures available to callers, free garland/boughs, apple cider/refreshments, snack bar featuring soup, hotdogs and hamburgers.

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