Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas Tree Season 2009

For over ten years now, we have been managing a large piece of property known as the Hart Property (named after former mayor of Fresno T.G. Hart) in the rugged Sierra Nevada's. The property is located above 8000' elevation near the border of Yosemite National Park. This property has been in our family for over one hundred years but it wasn't until recent times that we came to have a majority stake. The Silvertip Tree Farm was created once we began harvesting and selling Silvertip Christmas trees from our lot. Now that this season is drawing to a close, there is a time for reflection.

We started cutting the trees after the first of November. Our crew consisted of only family this year. Sometimes we hire a few extra men to do some packing and lifting. The weather was surprisingly stable with a few possible storms that never formed. With the weather cooperating, we were able to get all the trees down to our lot with ease. The trees were very fresh this year, having gotten plenty of rain and a little snow before we started cutting. I can't remember a year when they held there needles so well. We stocked our lot full and placed the trees in water to keep them fresh.

Thanksgiving day came and that meant one day before opening our lot to customers. This was the first year we made our trees available online. So not only were we scrambling to get our lot ready but we were also getting our online store up and running. The first online order we received was from Oregon. It was awesome to see one of our trees sell and be shipped to another state. Sales in the lot were modest throughout the season. We didn't get the anticipated rush that we were hoping for but nonetheless we did sell some trees. We are already looking forward to next years season and hope that it will be a good one.

This year was a good year for us. We took a few chances and made a little money. However, the numbers just don't add up when dealing with such a large piece of land. Property taxes will consume most of what we made this year. I am confident though looking ahead. The economy will improve and so will our sales. The Hart Property has been in the family for over a hundred years, there is no plan to see that change anytime soon.

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