BOWLING GREEN — Weston and Larie Vernon have good memories of picking out a live tree at Christmas as children and have carried that tradition with them since starting their own family. Now they want to extend the opportunity for memory-making to others with a Christmas tree farm on their property.
The Vernons have lived at 395 Carter Sims Road for eight years with their three children - Tucker, 11; A.J., 9; and Trapper, 7 - and own about 10 acres of land. A couple of years ago, the Vernons started researching what they could do with their land. Having grown up in Bowling Green, Weston and Larie remembered picking out trees and cutting them each year with their family at Rogers Tree Farm.
"Those are great memories that Larie and I both had,'' Weston said.
With a concept in mind, the Vernons traveled the state to see what other Christmas tree farms looked like and the atmosphere they provided. A few things they will incorporate into their own farm, Bare Creek Farm, include a bonfire and free hot chocolate and cider.
"People will get kind of an opportunity to enjoy the ambiance of being in the outdoors and starting a tradition,'' Weston said.
Bare Creek Farm will open Nov. 22. Santa Claus will make an appearance Nov. 29, two days after Thanksgiving.
Weston said his family always has fun picking out, decorating and keeping a live Christmas tree, and he's excited to watch other families share that experience.
"We always try to get the biggest one we can fit in our house,'' Weston said.
A.J. piped up while doing her math homework at the kitchen table Monday that one year the tree was almost too big.
"It tipped over three times,'' A.J. said. ``Come home and on the ground.''
A.J. said everyone in the family takes turns watering the tree. She said they often go in order from oldest to youngest, but sometimes someone has to volunteer or be recruited. Even though live trees need watering, A.J. and Trapper said they would rather have a live tree for Christmas than an artificial one.
"Maybe Santa thinks if you have a real live Christmas tree in your house then he'll leave more presents under the tree,'' Trapper said.
A.J. said she likes the smell of a real tree and couldn't imagine a Christmas without a real tree.
"It makes the Christmas real,'' A.J. said.
Larie said that while she hopes the farm can help other families come together, the farm has also offered her family opportunities to be together and learn new things.
The farm will "help our kids learn a work ethic and learn about commerce and be forced to interact with people - which is a lost art these days - and get their noses out of the (electronic) devices,'' Larie said. "It just kind of creates a sense of family, too.''
The Vernons recently planted Canaan firs on the property beside their house, creating a makeshift nursery for baby trees that peak no more than a couple feet above the ground. They plan to have more than 1,000 trees planted by the spring. Those trees are the future of Bare Creek Farm and won't be ready to cut until five to seven Christmases from now.
This year, the farm's 150 trees come from Virginia and will arrive the week of opening. The pre-cut trees will be set up by the gazebo near the road on the Vernons' land.
The farm will carry Fraser firs this year, which are similar to Canaan firs. Six-foot trees will be $50, 7-foot trees will be $55, 8-foot trees will be $60 and 9- and 10-foot trees will be $75. Weston said they will have a limited supply of 9- and 10-foot trees.
Bare Creek Farm will be open from 5 to 7 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and 1 to 6 p.m. Sundays. They can be found on Facebook as Bare Creek Tree Farm and on Twitter at twitter.com/Barecreekfarmky
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