Callie On The Job: Allen Farm - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Callie On The Job: Allen Farm

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BUNCOMBE -- Now that it's December many people are thinking of Christmas, and that means Christmas trees. News 3's Callie Carroll visits Allen Farm to learn more about the Christmas tree business in this week's Callie On The Job.

Allen Farm in Buncombe has been in operation for more than 150 years, but just over 30 years ago the first Christmas tree was planted. 

Now the farm has 10 acres of Christmas trees all operated by the family. 

Nick James with Allen Farm says,"When we plant our trees they're about two-years-old, and they look like a stick with pine needles on them and they grow about a foot a year after that. So within five years of planting, we have a five-foot tree that's ready to sell."

Even though Christmas trees are displayed in homes for a few short weeks, growing Christmas trees is a year-round job. 

In the spring, new trees are planted, in the summer trees are trimmed and shaped, and in the fall, any vines are pulled from the trees so they can be ready for Christmas. 

"Generally 99 percent of the people out here are happy. You don't deal if you're in other ends of retail people that are grouchy. They're out here, they're happy, they're cutting their Christmas tree. It's a fun time," James said.

Not all trees grow to make desirable Christmas trees, for those they are given a second life.

Owner Elizabeth Allen said,"When we started we were just going to sell Christmas trees and nothing else, then we ended up with trees that couldn't be Christmas trees. Well, we'll just make wreaths, nothing else, then of course it comes along and someone says why don't you get a gift shop and then it's all grown through the years."

With the trees that aren't sold wreaths, garland, center pieces, grave blankets and swags are all made at Allen Farm.

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