By Loren Lindler
If you've ever wandered through a Christmas tree farm in search of the perfect tree, you may know how hard it can be to find "the one." Everyone is on the hunt for something specific, tall or short, stout or slim, pine scent or no scent, but one thing that remains the same is the touch of rural Georgia they experience while picking out that perfect tree.
In 1894, Charles Woodson Berry purchased 206 acres to begin a dairy and row crop operation, which was and is still known as Berry Family Farm. However, the farm has certainly seen some changes over the last 125 years.
Since then, in 1977, the Berry Family planted their first crop of Christmas trees and a new tradition began as Berry's Tree Farm & Nursery. The farm is located in the Almon community between Conyers and Covington, Georgia. Though Newton County is no longer considered rural, it was very much rural during the time they started their family farm. As Newton County became more urbanized, the Berry Family remained strong in their rural roots, and today still serve up that touch of rural Georgia to each person that visits the farm.
The family has been in the Christmas tree business for over 40 years, but their goal remains the same: to create a family tradition and expose their growing population to an agricultural environment. As you visit the farm, you'll leave with much more than just a Christmas tree, but rather an experience of their family tradition. Berry's Tree Farm & Nursery is currently being operated with fifth and sixth-generation farmers Chuck, Lori, and Chase Berry.
"Farming is no longer prevalent in Newton County, but our customers can come and enjoy the 100-acre farm. We have customers from all over metro Atlanta, and we can offer them an experience that is like no other," says Chuck Berry. "They can get away from the hustle and bustle of the city and experience a part of rural Georgia in a non-rural area."
Days at the farm are a fun and exciting experience for each family. With train rides on the Chase Express, a petting zoo with Shorty and Bullhead the goats, and visits with Santa, it is sure to become a family tradition of your own.
This year, they have harvested 3,000 trees, and that number continues to grow as the season goes on. No matter what kind of tree you're searching for, they have a number of varieties including Leyland Cypress, Carolina Sapphire, Murray Cypress, Cedar, Virginia Pine, Fraser Fir, and Blue Ice.
Chuck shared, "Christmas tree farming in Georgia is like any other farming operation. The weather plays a huge part in both growing and selling. Summer days in the field are very hot and uncomfortable, but then, seeing all of the families arrive at Christmas time makes it all worthwhile. I couldn't imagine doing anything else."
Their trees have been featured in numerous movies and films, adorned the Georgia State Capitol and Governor’s Mansion, and been an integral part of the Christmas display at Stone Mountain Park near Atlanta. The Berry family continues to make a rural footprint in non-rural areas by providing an experience that has a touch of rural Georgia each holiday season.