Treemendous Fun at New Jersey Christmas Tree Farms
Visit one of NJ’s “choose-and-cut” tree farms to pick your own Christmas tree
Visiting one of New Jersey’s “choose-and-cut” tree farms is a good way to kick-start your Christmas spirit. Spending a couple of hours breathing in the fresh aroma of evergreens while selecting your own special tree can be fun for the entire family—especially if you cut the tree yourself. Not a lumberjack? Don’t worry: many farmers provide a saw and expert instruction at no charge, and will load and tie the tree onto your vehicle. Or, if you prefer, simply pick out a freshly cut tree.
Available trees include Blue, Norway, and White Spruce, Scotch Pine, and Douglas Fir, with prices determined by type, size, and number of years each one takes to grow. Since Blue Spruce takes 14 years to grow, it’s the most expensive choice.
Chris Nichols of Hidden Pond Tree Farm in Mendham, New Jersey (winner of the 2009 Grand Champion Christmas Tree awarded by the NJ Christmas Tree Growers’ Association) advises tree-seeking visitors to dress warmly and wear comfortable, low-heeled shoes or boots. Be sure to call the tree farm to confirm hours before you go, and take along a video recorder or a camera to capture the event. Whether you decide to cut your own tree or have one cut for you, shopping for that special Tannenbaum is always a memorable experience.
How to choose your tree Before selecting a tree, decide where it will be displayed, the height of your ceiling, and whether the ornaments hanging from it will be heavy or light. The tree farmer can then figure out the species, size, shape, and density that’s best for you. Should you prefer to purchase a pre-cut tree at a local stand or nursery, test for freshness by placing a needle between your thumb and forefinger. Bring your fingers together. If the tree is fresh, the needle should bend—not break. Or lift the tree a few inches off the ground and gently drop it down on the stump end. If a great number of outside green needles fall off, the tree may not be fresh.
NJ Christmas Tree Farms
- Dixiedale Farm, Chatham, NJ, 973-635-2097; weekends Nov. 26 to Dec. 19; you cut or pre-cut, saw provided.
- Evergreen Valley Christmas Tree Farm, Washington, NJ, 908-835-0557; daily from Nov. 25 to Dec. 22 except Mondays; you cut or pre-cut, BYO saw. Make an event of it, take the free wagon ride through the field to find your perfect tree.
- Fleming Farms, Long Valley, NJ, 908-852-6996; weekends Dec. 4–19; you cut, saw provided. Bonfire, refreshments.
- Hamilton Farms, Boonton Township, NJ, 973-334-6528; daily from Thanksgiving to Christmas Eve, 9 am–6 pm, Sundays to 5 pm; pre-cut.
- Hidden Pond Tree Farm, Mendham, NJ, 973-865-6362; daily from Nov. 26 to Christmas Eve, 9 am–5 pm; you cut or pre-cut.
- Simonson Fields, Cranbury, NJ, 609-799-0140; daily from Nov. 26 to Dec. 23; you cut or pre-cut, saws provided. Entertainment, Santa, hayrides, and more.
- The Village Tree Farm, Green Village, NJ, 908-236-9202; you cut or tag a tree after Thanksgiving and pick up in December; saws provided. Hayrides, cookies, candy canes, coloring books, photo with two of Santa’s reindeer.