The Tree Wisemans, a u-cut Christmas tree farm in Ridgefield, has been working to keep up with the demand of the busy winter season.
Sporting a name that’s a play on “the Three Wise Men” tale in the bible and a mix of the owner’s last name, the farm has offered Christmas trees to area residents for around four decades.
Owner Bruce Wiseman said they planted their first trees on the farm in 1980.
“This was an old family farm my folks purchased in 1963, but they never had Christmas trees,” Wiseman said. “Unfortunately, my father passed away in 1979, and it was all livestock and hay (at the time), so my siblings and I made a deal with my mother and planted five acres of trees, and we never looked back because we kept planting trees until we had about 25 acres planted over the next six or seven years.”
Wiseman said sales this holiday season have been “brisk.” The high demand in the area may lead the farm to close down for the season, sooner than they normally would. In case the trees they grow on the farm are all cut down, Wiseman said he purchased about 250 pre-cut trees from friends and neighbors to resell.
“The growth (of trees) in the county is phenomenal, and of course, they can only grow in the north and east because of the Columbia River coming in from Portland and Vancouver, which goes up to Longview, so all that growth is basically headed out to our farm,” he said. “We couldn’t have chosen a better spot to have a Christmas tree farm 40 years ago.”
Originally, Wiseman exclusively sold his trees wholesale as he shipped them to California, Arizona, Texas, Alaska, and even Hawaii. Their first harvest was in 1986. As the county grew in population, Wiseman received requests from people who wanted to cut down their own trees, so he changed his business structure to a strictly u-cut repetition model four years ago.
Tree Wisemans sells a variety of trees, with the most popular being the Noble fir. Wiseman said the trees have stouter branches, which hold up well.
“I suspect 60 to 65% of our business is probably Noble fir,” he said.
Douglas firs are another big seller, but the trees have a slightly different branch structure which makes it harder to hang ornaments on the trees, since the Noble’s branches point in a more outward direction.
The Grand fir, while not as popular as the Noble or Douglas, is the most fragrant of the bunch, Wiseman said.
Once the holiday season is over, Wiseman said January and February brings the family some more downtime as they clean up the fields after the harvest and remove stumps.
In March, they will replant trees by hand, aided by the use of shovels. Keeping the weeds under control is another big factor during that time. Once summer rolls around, pest control is a high priority.
“It’s a year-round business except for those couple of months where you don’t have much to do … if you’re on top of your farm, that is,” Wiseman said.
With a total of 55 acres, the remaining 30 are used by Wiseman and three of his five daughters, who all have houses on the farm.
The farm is located at 26500 NE 53rd Ave., Ridgefield. They are open on weekdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on weekends from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
More information on the farm can be found online at treewisemans.com.
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