The land that Ridgeway Christmas Tree Farm sits upon was once a cow pasture. David Sr.,stated that he got tired of chasing his crop and wanted one that wouldn’t jump the fence. After talking with David Jr., the idea of a Christmas tree farm that would one day provide for retirement activity was formed. The fact that it was getting harder to find wild Christmas trees also factored in as it was a family tradition and they wanted to preserve that family time for future generations. So in 1979 the first seedling was planted and we were in business. Five years later David Sr., David Jr., and his two boys, Robert and Bill, sat in a truck with a sign and sold the first few Christmas trees. To shake the trees they held the tree at the bottom and top and shook it to dislodge the needles.
A metal building was purchased that served as a gift shop and later a trailer was added that served as an office. During this time some customers asked for some of the trees that weren’t planted and they were given to them. Later the trees were potted into one gallons and sold. It wasn’t long before more items were added and the farm was growing. David Jr.’s wife, Virginia had quit her job to help care for her terminally ill father and started helping with the farm. David Jr., retired from the National Guard with a medical disability and began to help with his mother’s care as she had gotten more ill during this time. After Virginia’s father and David’s mother passed away, David and Virginia took over the farm and David Sr., returned to what he enjoyed doing… mowing grass!
One early morning we got a call that the office trailer was on fire. Thanks to a passing neighbor, the fire was discovered in time to prevent the loss of the full structure but the inside had extensive fire and smoke damage. Rather than replace the trailer with another trailer, the garden center was constructed. Little by little we added more items for sale. At this time we are restructuring the farm to where David and Virginia can manage it better. You’ll still see the two boys that were there when the first trees were sold working during the Christmas tree season. And now their big sister,Sara, has returned from Alabama with her family and plans to help. The boys now have provided us with grandsons that are beginning to take part in the family business although still too young to fully participate. Sara’s two children are looking forward to joining their cousins to help continue the family business.
We don’t know if David’s grandfather, Prentice Ridgeway, could have envisioned his tradition of cutting down the family’s Christmas tree would one day be a business of providing Christmas trees to other families, but I somehow think he would be proud.
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