WINDSOR, NY – Heading out to a farm to select a Christmas tree for the holiday is a COVID safe activity for families this year.
Today’s Food and Farm Showcase, in conjunction with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Broome
County, takes us to Candlewick Farms near Windsor.
Owner Gil Senger and his family began growing Christmas trees on 7 acres of his land in 2007.
Today, those original plantings are now as much as 14 to 16 feet tall.
There have been a number of lessons learned along the way, like how to endure hungry deer and which type of trees of plant.
Senger began with white pine before he discovered that they don’t make very good Christmas trees so he switched to Canaan fir.
It’s similar to balsam with a nice fragrance and good needle retention.
Senger says he plants them and mows around them but otherwise lets them be.
“I’ve been to plantations where they’re gorgeous trees but they prune them so much that you couldn’t get an ornament to hang in the trees. They’re just so dense because of all the pruning. I prefer a tree that I can hang ornaments on,” says Senger.
Senger says that when it comes to his white pine grove, he’s taken lemons and made them into lemonade.
He uses the branches to produce garlands, wreaths and kissing balls.
Candlewick Farms also offers small living Christmas trees, already decorated, that can be given to shut-ins during the pandemic.
Senger says planting his trees has been a true family affair.
“My grandchildren when they were 7 and 8 were helping us plant the trees and now they’;re teenagers and the 2 oldest ones are in their 20’s. They get to come up and cut down a tree that they may have planted when they were 8 years-old,” says Senger.
Senger has also cut the lower portion of a stand of white pines to create a cave-like atmosphere where he grows Shitake mushrooms in the summertime.
Candlewick Farms is open on Saturdays and Sundays from 9 A-M to dusk from Thanksgiving to Christmas.
You-cut trees are $20 and pre-cut are $25.
Senger supplies a sanitized saw for those who want to cut their own.
Wreaths range in size from 8 to 18 inches and cost $10 and up.
Garland is a dollar a foot.
Candlwick Farms is located at 2140 Route 79 in Ouaquaga, about 4 miles north of Windsor.
For more information, call 716-998-8743.