Tis the season! It’s Christmas time. This is absolutely my favorite time of the year. When it comes to Christmas I am Christmas Elf Numero Uno! I love all of it, from the Christmas Carols to the feel good movies on Hallmark Channel. I watch ABC Family’s 25 days of Christmas religiously. I love going to pick out a tree and decorating my home. I just love everything about it. So when I learned that there were actually Christmas Tree farms right here in Florida I was beside myself with excitement. I thought actually choosing your tree from a tree farm was an experience reserved for people who live in colder climates. Well I was wrong! There is a Christmas Tree farm in Florida just a short drive away from Tampa Bay. We headed up to Dade City, FL, which is about an hour away, to the Ergle Christmas Tree Farm.
The Ergle Chistmas Tree farm has been bringing in the Christmas spirit for more than 26 years. They offer a variety of fresh trees that include Cedar, Sand Pine and Carolina Sapphire. You can walk the rows and rows of trees and choose to cut your own,choose a potted tree, or select a pre-cut tree brought in from up north. They also have Christmas cactus and fresh wreaths. On our visit we were greeted by the friendly owners ,Tony and Debra Harris. There’s no safety videos and no how-to-saw-a-tree classes. They point you to the basket of hand saws (YIKES!) and you are free to roam the grounds and find that special tree.
Since I’ve always purchased a tree from a commercial retailer I really didn’t know what to expect as far as size or the difference in how the Florida trees vary from other types of trees I was familiar with. There were alot of trees that were not tall enough to be cut down. They ask that you only select trees that are at least 5ft tall. While that left us with a smaller selection of eligible trees, it’s a good thing because that means there will be plenty of trees to choose from for years to come! Even though the trees were smaller than what I was used to seeing it was still magical to see the many rows of triangle-shaped trees perfectly in a line. After 20 minutes of walking around I found a tree that was the perfect shape, full, and tall enough to take.
I’ll be honest…the Outdoorsy Diva had a tough time handling a hand saw. This is definitely man work! I gave it my best effort though. I brought along some muscles with me for the ride and he was able to saw down the tree in just a few minutes. After we carried it back, they approved the height, put it on a shaker/spinner contraption to knock off needles (and I suppose critters), and netted it for us. My tree was just at 5 feet and it fit right in the back of my small SUV. If needed they had rope and were willing to tie the tree to the top of your car. They also send you home with instructions to care for your tree.
After all that hard work, we treated ourselves to some snacks at their concession stand and took a ride on their “train”. The train takes you through the grounds of the farm where you can see some of the other crops they grow. It also goes past the barnyard animals area with goats, piglets, ducks, and rabbits. It was a relaxing way to end the afternoon.
Things To Know Before You Go:
1. Spray yourself with bug spray. It’s outdoors and bugs comes with the territory.
2. Once you find a tree you really really like either leave someone in your party there with the tree so that you can find it again or go ahead and choose it! Otherwise you will never be able to find the same tree twice. There’s just too many of them.
3. Sawing is much harder than it looks. I’ll leave that to the Paul Bunyan manly man types. Divas take some muscles with you!! If you do go alone I’m sure one of the strapping young lads working at the farm would be happy to help you if you.
4. Don’t wait too long to come. Tree cutting season starts around Thanksgiving. The longer you wait, the slimmer your pickings for that perfect tree.
5. I would absolutely do this again…of course it would feel more Christmassy if it weren’t 80 degrees outside this time of year. You may opt to wait until it’s later in the day if it’s a particularly hot day. Problems of a Floridian….
This is a great family bonding activity and fun for all ages. Thanks to the Ergle Tree Farm for being apart of my Christmas fun this year!
I love to hear from my readers. Did you know there are Christmas Tree Farms in Florida? Is cutting down your own tree on your Christmas bucket list? Let me know in the comments below.