Christmas Trees Center Of Season’s Festivities
Before the coming of Christianity, plants and coniferous trees that retained their green color year-round were revered by people during the winter months. Whether it was hanging evergreen boughs to keep away illness and evil spirits or just simply decking the halls with greenery, Christmas trees remain a prime indicator that the holiday season is just around the corner.
For Suzanne Everts of Stoney Acres Tree Farm in Hustontown, the Christmas tree has been a major component of her life since 1990 when she planted her very first tree. A labor-intensive practice for much of the year, Everts learned the ins and outs of tree farming from dear friend Ray O. Mellott.
“He’s been a godsend to me,” said Everts of the longtime, local tree farmer, who is touted for teaching not only Everts but many other county residents the ropes of planting and trimming.
Everts start in Christmas tree farming began when the adjoining farm went up for sale. Not wanting to risk losing the beautiful view off Clear Ridge Road, she bought up the property and turned to planting trees on the eight acres instead of the dreaded task of mowing.
The Hustontown woman is quick to tell you about her penchant for trees, her nurturing talks with them and how she trims each tree like it would be taking center stage in her own home. She added her favorite part of the business is seeing a tree reach maturity as well as watching customers pick a tree and love it as much as she does.
The Christmas tree business is a year-round venture, with customers showing up as early as September to pick out and tag their tree. It’s customer sales that increase greatly during the weekends immediately following Thanksgiving.
In fact, even though Everts’ husband, Kenneth, celebrates his birthday on Christmas Eve, she still keeps the doors open for those wishing for a traditional Christmas. As in days past, she said, those individuals won’t pick out their tree until Christmas Eve and decorate it to surprise their little ones the following morning.
While Stoney Acres Tree Farm located just north of the village of Hustontown on Clear Ridge Road boasts an array of trees from Concolor to Scotch pine and Canaan, Douglas fir has remained Everts’ top seller for many years. She refers to Douglas fir as being a staple for county residents even though Concolor with its orange scent and Frazier fir are up-andcoming trees.
Everts noted Frazier fir is temperamental in nature for the first two years and difficult to grow locally, even though it seems to prefer hillsides as a prime growing location.
In addition to increased customer activity, Everts also looks forward to the extra time she spends with her grandchildren, or elves, during this time of year. Everts and her elves have various sizes of trees available from four foot to old-fashioned 13-foot Canaan. The most popular, however, remains the seven-foot Christmas tree as six feet is too small and eight feet is too big.
In her downtime, Everts spends hours in her shop making swags, wreaths, stars and candy canes. The farm also offers a new method of shaking the tree down and drilling and bagging them for customer convenience.
Meanwhile, five miles south of Harrisonville on Pleasant Ridge Road, the Scott Mellott Tree Farm also got it start with the knowledge of Ray O. Mellott, who also happens to be Scott’s grandfather. Growing up as part of a Christmas tree farming family, Scott said he never had any intentions of being in the business. However, after buying the family homeplace and having individuals stopping by and wanting to buy trees already on the grounds, he figured why not.
“I never wanted to work with trees again. Whenever I was younger, throughout the summer months, trees were a seven-daya week job,” Scott told the “News.” Keeping with history and family tradition, Scott and his wife, Lori, offer Canaan, Norway and blue spruce, Douglas fir and even white pine and Frazier fir to interested customers.
With its fullness and soft needles, Scott said Douglas fir is his best seller, followed by Concolor with its citrus orange scent. The family’s nine acres and even Scott’s backyard boast trees of all sizes from the table-top-sized trees to 15-footers.
Two years ago, the Mellotts also began offering their own handmade swags and wreaths as an alternative to throwing out unused boughs.
A believer in customer satisfaction, Scott assured the “News” that in the event he doesn’t have something, he will go out of his way to help find it. The Scott Mellott Tree Farm will remain open through Christmas Eve on weekends from noon to 8 p.m. and weeknights from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
The Stoney Acres Tree Farm is open this season 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.