59 years of Christmas: Picking fresh trees is a holiday tradition at Bryan’s Farm

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Jack Firneno/Wire photo

It’s quiet on the stretch of Second Street Pike between Richboro and New Hope, except for when the wind whips up and rushes up and down the hills around the open road.

In the distance, a red tractor emerges from the cluster of pine trees that begins about a quarter-acre from the street. It’s driven by Sam Bryan and he’d been up there for about a half=hour with a woman and her child. Bryan predicted he’d be there for at least another half.

“People like to take their time,” he explained as the woman and child weaved through the trees, inspecting some of them. “Sometimes, they’re up here for two or three hours looking for the right one.”

At least, that’s been his experience in the last six decades.

Bryan is the owner of Bryan’s Tree Farm. He’s the third generation to run things here: his grandfather bought the land in 1912, and the family began selling Christmas trees in the ‘50s. Today, the 15-acre farm has around 5,000 trees. People can browse and then cut down their selection themselves.

Bryan got started with the business when he was a teenager, planting new trees. He never stopped. “It’s just a habit,” he laughed. “I like being outside, seeing animals all the time. It’s better than sitting in an office.”

That habit to him is also a tradition for many local residents, who come to the farm year after year to pick out their trees. One woman posted on the farm’s Facebook page that she’s been coming there since the ‘60s. Bryan himself may not remember all the names but he’s seen many of the same faces grow over the last 30 or 40 years.

“It’s become a ritual for people,” he noted. “The whole experience makes people happy. They come here and have a good time.”

As part of that experience, the farm also offers a wagon ride, for fun and also so people can navigate the entire area, along with grilled hot dogs and homemade chili when they return. Of course, for Bryan the experience is a year-round one: after the holiday, he’ll be back out on the farm as usual, filling holes, planting new trees and maintaining the ones that are still growing.  

It’s a lot of work, but worth it to send people home with freshly cut trees — a big difference, Bryan noted, from the selection at a lot or outside a supermarket. Those may have been cut weeks before they’re bought, but taking a fresh tree home means that, with a little care, they can stay fresh much longer than the pre-cut ones.

“Some people are able to to keep them until mid-January with the needles still fresh,” he said proudly.

Bryan’s Tree Farm, 2032 Second Street PIke in Richboro, is open on Saturdays and Sundays through Christmas from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on weekdays by appointment. For information, call 215.598.3206  or visit http://www.facebook.com/bryans-farm.

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