The property was settled in 1800 by the Bickford family and remained as a subsistence/small dairy farm through five generations until the early 20th century. Several owners followed and the farm went out of the dairy business in the mid 1960’s. We purchased the property in late 1968 when Jim was transferred by the FAA to work in the control tower at the Bangor airport.
There are about 185 acres, 150 of which are typical north temperate zone woodland, and 30 acres of more or less tillable ground. The idea of growing Christmas trees was implanted by an extension forester who was engaged to advise on care of the woodlot. We sold the first trees in 1978, handing customers a saw from the front porch. A small barn/sales area was built in 1981 but by 1992 had become too small and the current facility was constructed. The new barn is 40 x 100, with a 40 x 40 heated area at one end devoted to a gift shop, wreath construction, decorating and shipping.
Along the way we have added free shaking and baling of the trees, photo ops, hay rides on weekends, school tours and a scavenger hunt for a stuffed bear for the kids. We try to make the experience fun for everyone, including ourselves. And it all happened because someone thought it would be a good idea to plant a dozen little balsams to have a few Christmas trees for friends!
Every year Christmas tree growers from across the nation compete for the best tree at the convention of the National Christmas Tree Association. The winning farm is awarded the honor of presenting a 18 ft tree to the first lady to be used in the Blue Room. The association's president gets to participate, representing the association membership. Jim was president in 2002 and 2003. We still have to pinch ourselves to believe this actually happened!
Some years ago, Jim was invited to speak on the Martha Stewart Show. The show discussed how to select a great Christmas tree! To view that video: Visit Site