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The Only Local Guide To Food And Farms In Middle Tennessee - Spring 2017
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Santa's Place Christmas Tree Farm

By Janie Whitlock

Gerald and Patricia Martin didn’t set out to be farmers. Both husband and wife worked as teachers for many years. When they moved to Tennessee from Long Island there was culture shock. However, the Martins were dedicated to make both the farming and the teaching work.

Before becoming a tree farmer, Gerald Martin had other agricultural ambitions - raising pigs. “The trees are much quieter,” he says laughingly.

Before becoming a tree farmer, Gerald Martin had other agricultural ambitions - raising pigs. “The trees are much quieter,” he says laughingly. He had expected that the trees would for the most part take care of themselves. He expected the operation would involve a few months a year. The reality was that between planting, fertilizing, weeding, removing vines, removing bag worms and spraying, the operation is a year-round responsibility.

Fifteen years ago, Gerald Martin decided to plant White Pine trees for sale at the holidays. Tennessee, due to the heavy clay and rock, is not the best place to grow Christmas trees. The natural soil has less dirt than a pine needs. Gerald decided to drill holes for the saplings with a soil mixture around the base that fills the hole. That was the easy part. It can take 7 years for the first crop of trees to mature. Each one grows an average of one foot per year for the 6 foot/7 foot trees that are harvested. The farm is located near Fort Campbell where the market demands Frasier firs as well as White Pines. The Martins offer both. They have a strong Agricultural Extension office and continue to use those resources to be current and grow their market. But selling trees is just a small part of what Santa's Place Christmas Tree Farm has to offer. Visitors to the farm can engage in a variety of activities. >Visit their Local Table listing.

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