Surrey Christmas tree farm builds family traditions

CLOVERDALE — With the countdown to Christmas underway, one farm in Cloverdale is priming their crop for the most wonderful time of year.

Their product? Christmas trees, big and small, fat and thin and every shape and size for every purpose imaginable.

The site, Armstrong Creek Farm, is run by Peter Bladt and has been offering locally grown Christmas trees to the region for the past 14 years.

"We started planting in 1995 and started selling in 2000, so it took five years for them to get to around five feet or higher," he explained.

Having started the farm as a hobby, Bladt said it’s grown to be a popular attraction for local families looking for a more traditional Christmas experience than picking out a tree at the local supermarket.

"We have a bonfire, we offer hot cocoa and Danish butter cookies for people when they come," he said.

"Two thirds of our customers are repeat customers and we’ve had families coming for more than 10 years."

The farm, the last of its kind in Surrey, offers both pre-cut and "U-Cut" trees, allowing families the choice of kicking it Griswold style. However, unlike Clark and the gang, tools are provided for those who don’t bring their own.

"We have hand saws that are provided and we are there to assist if there’s need for that," said Bladt, who half-joked that the business is something of a cultural affair.

"My heritage is from Scandinavia in Denmark, which is the largest supplier of Christmas trees in Europe, so I guess it runs a little bit in our blood."

As for tree types, Bladt said that while the many big box stores and farms sell Douglas Firs because they grow fast, he offers four other types of firs for better needle retention, as well as a Norway Spruce.

"Most popular is still the Fraser Fir and the Noble Fir but trends are changing and the new and upcoming variety is the Nordmann Fir," he explained.

Price-wise Bladt said the typical sixfooter costs around $60, depending on tree type. And for those looking for a more Charlie Brown experience, the tree tradesman said they’ve got that covered as well.

"What we also do is that we have trees as low as $12. We call them ‘Charlie Brown Trees’ since they are not the perfect ones – they have grown in the shade or are too open perhaps but we sell a lot of those as well," he explained. "They’re $12 to $25 a tree because not everyone wants to spend $60 on a tree."

And without promoting his own farm specifically, Bladt said families considering the "U-Cut" experience should try it at least once for that special Christmas moment.

"Go to the farms, it doesn’t matter if it’s my farm but just any farm in the Lower Mainland because it’s such an experience," he said. "You’ll remember your tree experiences the most when you’ve been out looking for that tree that really catches your eye."

Armstrong Creek Farm is located at 4457 190th St. in Surrey and is open Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, go to Christmastreesforyou.ca.

Twitter @Questionchris

cpoon@thenownewspaper.com

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