Early Holiday Greetings to Customers and Friends of Pea Ridge Forest:
This year we are celebrating 50 years since we purchased our farm. It doesn’t seem possible that 50 years have passed since Leroy and I took a ride on a cold winter day with our three young kids to see a tree farm a friend said was for sale. We saw deer and turkey on the way in and even a rabbit floating in the basement of the log house. We weren’t looking to buy a farm, but we all loved it and still do today. It has become a way of life besides being a business—a passion we have all shared. We are excited to continue to share our love for the farm with you this year and for many years to come.
Mother Nature always seems to provide us with fodder for our newsletter. Spring was very wet, making it difficult to get into the fields to plant our liners for the nursery and seedlings for our Christmas trees. We dried out in early summer but did get a few timely rains. As the summer progressed, the irrigation wells got a workout and the fields without access to water received a few prayers. Presently, we are digging evergreens and have to irrigate them first to be able to dig.
Family members are doing well—daughter Michele and Jerry are busy as ever in Columbia. Michele finished work on her PhD this spring. Mike and Tammy are always busy—Tammy graduated with her DNP (doctor of nursing practice) this spring also. Mike does the selling for the nursery trees, so he has a phone attached to his ear nonstop. Jessica, the oldest granddaughter, embarked this fall in a PhD program in Economics at Rice University. To continue this saga, Jenna has another year in Nursing school at Mizzou and is shooting for graduate school. The rest of us are beginning to feel outnumbered—we are so very proud of all of them. Jill, the youngest member, is a Junior in high school, a great student and is now in the midst of volleyball season—she is our people person. Scott and Beryl are well and took a trip to California this fall for a visit with friends there. Scott is always busy with the Christmas tree end of the business, baby-sitting the irrigation system, and the never-ending paper work.
Now on to trees—our landscape nursery is doing well—the guys are always excited to try new cultivars to see what excels in our area. The Christmas trees are a challenge because we are too far south for firs to flourish and too far north for some of the varieties our southern neighbors grow. We have experimented with some different varieties of pines with limited success (and some failures). We also have planted some firs and tried very hard to make them happy—our heavy clay and hot summers are a challenge for them. We see a bit of hope for Nordman firs we are playing with but are a number of years away.
This year’s retail sales will be along the same lines as the previous two years. We will have a food truck on weekends—hot chocolate in the Morten building by the Santa area (we are hopeful we will have Santa depending on the “Covid situation” then). We are planning on the Wurst Haus selling their delicious meats, wineries, and of course, kettle corn.
The gift shop is just about fully stocked thanks to Karen, with great gift ideas and home décor items. We will have fresh greenery items—wreaths, roping, hanging baskets, containers, centerpieces along with bows, cones and berries, etc. to complete the festive decorations.
Of course, as with everything we purchase recently, our expenses have gone up. The prices on the supplemental trees we bring in to the farm alone have increased between 10% and 20%. These increases, paired with the rising costs of labor and supplies, have forced us to raise our prices accordingly.
We are planning a few things for the kiddos, including a corn bin and the tractor pulled train that we have had in the past. We are going to continue to have our customers hike to the fields to select a tree this year. Of course, the crew will shake and bale your tree in the field and bring it back to the barn where you can pick it up. If anyone cannot make the trek to the field, we will have a vehicle and driver ready to get you to the field—just ask one of the employees. We are planning to be open this year on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays—to give us a bit more preparation time.
We are looking forward to welcoming you to our farm again this year and hope we can help you make many holiday memories for you and your family.
Yours in trees,
The Rood family
P.S. We’ve attached a video with a short history of the farm in recognition of our 50 years in operation!
22735 Tree Farm Rd., MO 65041