Falcon Ridge Christmas
Come one, come all to Falcon Ridge Farm in Toone, Tennessee; it’s time to pick out your very own, live Christmas Tree! The Christmas trees are nestled on about six-acres of the 250-acre farm where the Gilmer family takes care of the trees.
Buying the farm in 2001, the Gilmer family started Falcon Ridge Farm as a horse operation and that’s also what led to the name Falcon Ridge Farm. The name Falcon came from the matriarch Mary Ellen’s favorite horse and Ridge is from a large ridge on the property. It wasn’t until 2009 that the farm was opened to the public and in 2010 they started their Christmas tree operation. Ray, Mary Ellen, their youngest son, Bart, his wife, Becky, and their two kids, who are five and thirteen, all work on the farm along with the seasonal workers, whose numbers vary from season to season.
There are currently, between 40 and 50 acres of land under production; the rest of the farm consists of pastures and woods. There are four varieties of Christmas trees that they grow on the farm: Murray Cypress, Blue-eye Spruce Cypress, Carolina Sapphire Cypress, and Virginia White Pine. All of the Christmas trees grow in one-gallon pots for a year before they are transplanted into the fields. As of right now, Falcon Ridge has about 1,000 trees in pots and about another 4,000 or so out in the fields. Ray explained why they need that many trees, “You’ve got to plan years in advance. You have to figure out what you’ll be doing in about five or six years from now. You will lose some of the trees, so you need to have plenty of them.”
The Gilmer family really enjoy their Pick and Cut Christmas Tree event. They have families that come year after year to get their Christmas tree. “It’s a great, happy time of year,” Ray told us, “Everybody is in good spirits. We’ve watched these children grow from little bitty toddlers now to young adults, so it's a neat time. We have a relationship with those people because they come every year.”
The Gilmer family really want to share the farm experience with people who wouldn’t normally get that opportunity. They work hard to make sure that the trees are well taken care of and ready to be brought into peoples living rooms. “We fertilize them three times a year,” Ray mentioned. They also provide monthly maintenance to the trees and shear them two to three times a year to promote growth. Bart told us about the other maintenance that needs to be done to keep the trees healthy; “They require the most care during the warm, summer months. With the fields that they’re in, you have to keep the grass away and the weeds from growing up in them.” They are constantly monitoring the trees in order to keep them in tip-top shape.
When it isn’t Christmas Tree Season, Falcon Ridge Farm primarily handles fruits and vegetables and has a Farm Share Program that sends out boxes of fruits and vegetables to members of the program. The Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Program allows people access to a share of the farm's harvest. This program lasts 30 weeks and you can choose what season or seasons you want to participate in. For more information on all of the programs happening year-round at Falcon Ridge Farm please visit their website http://www.farmatfalconridge.com or call them at 731-658-5200. The Gilmer family and Falcon Ridge Farm are located at 22630 Highway 18 North in Toone, TN. The Pick and Cut Christmas Tree event is happening now until December 22nd.