SPRINGVILLE — Butch and Carol Hill first began planting a variety of fir trees on their Springville farm in 1982.
“There are many families that have made coming here a tradition,” Butch Hill said, about Hill’s Christmas Tree Farm, located at 13214 Belscher Road, in Springville. “They make a day of it. They even picnic at their cars and spend two [or] three hours, looking for the tree they want.”
Approximately 24,000 trees are growing on the property, which was first purchased by Butch’s grandparents in 1933. The land served as a dairy farm, until it was converted into a tree farm.
“People just hear about us and come and check it out,” Hill said, adding that most of the farm’s promotion is done word-of-mouth. “Some weekends it’s just crazy, out here; crowded all over. We have hot chocolate, a bakery [and] a lot of different kinds of entertainment.”
Balsam fir, Canaan fir, concolor fir, Douglas fir, grand fir and blue and white spruce trees are available for cutting. Hill said that the Canaan fir has proven to be one of his most popular varieties.
Discovered by an Ohio State University professor in a West Virginia valley, this tree has a wide, straight shape and shows a variety of colors. According to Hill, its scent is strong and pleasant.
The Hills began planting Caanan trees in 1998 and started selling them about eight years later. “It’s become very popular,” Hill said. “I have a lady who comes from Erie, just for the Canaan fir. There’s something about the soil here that makes them grow very well.”
Customers to Hill’s Christmas Tree Farm may wander the property and cut the trees themselves. The farm’s staff members transport the trees back to the shed, where they are wrapped, via a baler. Pre-cut trees are also available.
Hill encouraged people to come out and tag larger trees, as early as possible.
The farm, which opened for the season on Nov. 23, will accept customers until Dec. 16.
While there are no new species of trees this year, Hill said that he is excited about one new offering: an access road that will connect the main parking area and shed to the neighboring field. In the past, he said that it was a challenge for people to complete the walk. He also said he anticipates finishing a building addition to the shed, complete with rest rooms, in about two years.
While Hill said that the farm lost about 90 percent of its grand fir seedlings and 25 percent of its Caanan seedlings this year, he added that this summer’s drought did not affect his trees as much as he had feared.
“It could’ve been a lot worse,” he said. “Most of the trees survived it, pretty well.”
For more information, call 592-5096 or visit www.hillschristmastreefarm.com.