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Family-owned Christmas tree farm near Ann Arbor enters 32nd season

Family-owned Christmas tree farm near Ann Arbor enters 32nd season
Family-owned Christmas tree farm near Ann Arbor enters 32nd season 04:34

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (CBS DETROIT) - For many in the Metro Detroit area, Urquhart's is a holiday tradition. 

Brian and Susan Urquhart started the Christmas tree farm in 1991 with a single field, which has since expanded to include the main farm and two satellite fields home to hundreds of thousands of trees across 350 acres. 

The Urquhart family doesn't grow the trees from seed. Instead, they buy small trees three to five years old to plant.  

"These black hill spruce have been growing on our farm for four years, and they're just taking off now," said manager John Urquhart. "So, it really takes a long time to get them started." 

While the farm offers nine different tree varieties, he said the most popular are blue spruce, concolor fir and frasier fir. 

"There's always lots of trees around," John Urquhart said. "People that are looking for eight, 10, 12-foot trees, sometimes they're looking for 15- to 20-foot trees. I think we've sold a half a dozen trees this year that were between 20 and 25 feet." 

He said that with the sheer number of trees on their properties, some are inevitably not sold and put to use. 

"We're really are going to encourage people to try to find a home for every tree that even has a chance of being a good Christmas tree because it makes us feel bad to cut them down and put them on a burn pile," he said.

Customers can come any day of the week to its field on Jackson Road and cut down their own trees. 

"You can grab a saw, you can grab one of our Christmas tree carts, you can wander our fields, find a tree," said Urquhart. "If you do find one that you like, you can bale it yourself at the baling station there, which is really pretty self-explanatory … Then you load it on your car, and you can go home.  

"We tried that a few years ago during COVID and it really works well, and people really appreciate that we trust them, and they really like that they can come whenever they need to come and get their tree." 

He said the you-cut business increased by 25% during the pandemic and has stayed steady ever since.  

The farm is open to the public on Friday, Saturday and Sunday and offers pre-cut trees, hayrides, and a you-cut experience. 

Employee Robert Graham has been working at the farm for over a year. While he enjoys keeping up the farm in the offseason, he said there's something special about the holidays. 

"It's really cool to watch it all come together because during the summer we're just working, nobody's here, then during the winter it just blows right up and then thousands of people come in, everybody's happy," said Graham. "It's quite the experience." 

A lawyer by trade, Urquhart said his favorite part about the business is spending time with his family. 

"My favorite part of the business is that it brings my family together, and we all spend lots of time together this time of year helping people solve their problems, and it makes me feel very proud to be part of this family," he said. 

When customers finish their farm tour, they can warm up in the historic barn, which also houses its gift shop.  

Customers can find handmade ornaments, wreaths, roping, tree stands, and refreshments there. 

Urquhart's Tree Farm is located at 10050 Jerusalem Road in Chelsea. 

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