Oh, Christmas tree

Family-run Green Needles Tree Farm offers cheer

Twelve years ago, Jon and Debbie Perdew and their eight children moved from their fruit orchard in Maryland to a farm tucked away in the mountains in Coleman Falls, Virginia.

Along with the farm came acres upon acres of Christmas trees — White Pines and Spruce trees covered the property.

The Perdew family operated their farm year-round with Jon Perdew’s landscape business, but during the winter, their road — Yew Tree Lane — saw much more traffic.

ENJOYING FAMILY — Debbie Perdew pushed two of her granddaughters on one of the tree farm’s three tire swings. Photo credit: Amber Tiller

ENJOYING FAMILY — Debbie Perdew pushed two of her granddaughters on one of the tree farm’s three tire swings. Photo credit: Amber Tiller

The farm is open to the public Fridays and Saturdays beginning the Saturday before Thanksgiving until Christmas . Green Needles opens at 10 a.m. on Friday and 9 a.m. Saturday and closes at 5:30 p.m. both days.

Trees range from $34 for a shorter White Pine to $74 for a taller Fraser Fir. Prices range based on height.

Through the next few weekends, Jon Perdew allows vendors such as Nomad Coffee to come to the farm free of charge. The Perdews also sell homemade pottery made by a friend who lives near the farm.

In addition, the Perdews sell handmade wreaths, made from their trees, according to their site.

“We’re just trying to make it more of a community event,” Jon Perdew said.

Another element of the farm is the three tire swings located around the premise. Debbie Perdew played along as two of her grandchildren jumped on one of swings.

Debbie Perdew said her children — six boys and two girls — used to help with the farm. Initially, when the family moved, their older children were starting to attend school at Liberty University.

Since then, six of their eight children are graduates of Liberty and have moved all over the country, but some of them like her daughter, stayed close to home — right next door in fact.

One of her children currently studies nursing at Liberty, and their youngest, Caleb Perdew, attends Central Virginia Community College. He continues to help his family during their weekend hours.

The farm needs year-round maintenance such as shearing during the summer and mowing, Debbie Perdew said. As the Perdews try to keep everything organic, they face the added challenge of having to work around using pesticides and find other methods of keeping their trees safe from diseases or insects.

But the Perdews do more than grow trees — Jon Perdew continued to add to their farm. In the past year, he has plant- ed a vineyard and cleared out fields on their property to use later as possible wedding venues.

Jon Perdew has also planted fruits and vegetables as well as flowers and operated as a landscaping contractor. Debbie Perdew worked as a doula at Virginia Baptist Hospital. She worked with families, supporting the mothers during their pregnancy and childbirth, and some of her previous patients visited the farm Saturday to buy a tree.

The farm also saw new customers such as Lynchburg locals, Kate Macklin and David Abbott.

Macklin and Abbott brought their dog along to search for their first Christmas tree, aiming for a small four-foot tree. After deliberating and searching, they found a white pine fit- ting for their apartment.

Macklin said she has always had a live tree for Christmas. When she lived with her family in Seattle, Washington, they used to purchase trees 11 feet tall, and she wanted a smaller tree this year.

“We’re not really into decorating,” Macklin said. “We’re going to decorate (our tree) with climbing gear.”

Much like Abbott and Macklin, the Perdews keep a White Pine tree in their house.

Amongst the trees, the Perdews search for the perfect Christmas tree just like their customers.

“This is all fun,” Debbie Perdew said. “Everybody’s on holiday. The fact that I get to share my farm with them makes my heart happy.”

For more about Green Needles Christmas Tree Farm, go to their site — http://www.greenneedleschristmastreefarm. com or visit their Facebook page at “Green Needles Christmas Tree Farm.”

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