Twinsberry Tree Farm keeps customers coming back

Personal attention and a wide variety of trees keep customers coming back to Twinsberry Christmas Tree Farm year after year to celebrate the season.

Now with the third generation of Berry family members working, Twinsberry Farm continues a tradition it began in the 1970s.

“We sell trees commercially as well as have pre-cut and cut-your-own trees and all kinds of wreaths, swags and roping,” said Joel Berry.

Located on the family’s 150-acre farm that has been in the family since Berry’s grandfather bought it in the 1930s, Twinsberry Tree Farm is now a true family effort. “My son Scott works with me, and my son-in-law and daughter, Paul and Tina Martin, also work with us,” Berry said. “The kids have really helped bring us into the new technology, since we are able to accept debit and credit cards now on an iPad. I would never have been able to do that on my own.”

The farm also has a presence on Facebook and recently revamped its web site, www.twinsberrytreefarm.com.

“We’ve been coming here for probably 10 years,” said a local father and three adult sons. “We’ve tried some of the larger tree farms, but we just really enjoy the whole experience of going out on the tractor and trailer and picking our tree, and cutting it ourselves. They take great care of us here.”

Such comments are typical of Twinsberry Farm customers.

“We have a lot of families who have been coming here for many years, and some are on their third generation to buy their tree here,” Berry said. “We didn’t think of it as ‘agri-tainment’ when we started in the mid-1970’s, but that’s part of what we do.”

The tree farm began shortly after Berry graduated with a degree in forestry from the Ohio State University in 1973. Berry’s father, Russell, decided that he had about 40 acres he didn’t want to farm any more, and he asked the younger Berry to plant some trees on the hills.

“Honestly, at the time, I thought I would plant the trees and either move to Canada or out West to do forestry work and the trees would still be here,” Berry said.

Fate has a way of making other plans, Berry soon learned.

“Soon after I graduated, the bottom fell out of the forestry industry with the Spotted Owl impacting forestry out West and there was an industry decline in Canada too,” he said. Instead, Berry began a successful consulting business, working with landowners on forestry issues all over Ohio. He provides timber appraisals and sales, forest management and planting services.

By the mid 1970’s, Twinsberry Tree Farm had begun its tradition of selling Christmas trees. The farm is named in honor of Joel Berry and his twin brother Jack.

“It was a bit of trial and error at first,” Berry said. “Over the years, I learned that I didn’t want to use pesticides, so we developed a multi-species, multi-age approach to managing our trees. When we harvest a tree, we grind down the stump and plant a new tree right next to it. It works really well.”

As a result, when you visit Twinsberry, you’ll see a wide range of tree species and sizes in the same general area. Berry also learned that the farm’s hills were perfect for growing Christmas trees, especially the Concolor Fir.

“We’re at the edge of where the glaciers came through, and that meant these gravel hills were created,” Berry said. “We planted a few of the Concolor Firs, and found out that they really like these hills where they can plant deep roots. It’s become our signature tree here at Twinsberry Tree Farm.”

The Concolor Fir offers soft, silver bluish green needles that are approximately two inches long and have a distinct citrus scent. The Concolor is a full tree with an excellent shape, Berry said.

Twinsberry Farm’s Concolor has been a crowd favorite at the Ohio State Fair for the past two years, earning the People’s Choice award in 2012 and 2013, as well as reserve champion tree at the 2013 Ohio State Fair.

In addition to the Concolor, Twinsberry Tree Farm also features a variety of Pine, Fir and Spruce trees including Scotch and White Pine; Fraser, Canaan and Douglas Fir; and Blue, Norway, White and Serbian Spruce.

Customers can take a trailer ride on the tree farm or choose a pre-cut or burlap tree at the farm’s tree shed, as well as view a large selection of wreaths, swags and roping in the farm’s barn. A snack shack provides an area to warm up with cookies, popcorn, coffee and hot chocolate. Donations are accepted for the Shreve Christian Church.

Twinsberry also offers tree shaking and baling and also sells tree bags and stands. The farm also does a considerable amount of wholesale tree sales and provides trees to a number of companies throughout the state. Between 1,000 and 1,500 trees are sold each Christmas season.

After starting the Christmas tree business, Berry soon became involved in the Ohio Christmas Tree Association and the National Christmas Tree Association.

“I knew that if I wanted this business to thrive, sooner or later, I would have to start marketing it, and I knew I needed ideas from other growers,” he said. “It’s a great group of people, and we realize we’re all in this together.”

Berry has served on the board of directors for the Ohio Christmas Tree Association as well as on several committees. He also served on the National Christmas Tree Association’s board of directors and is a past Ohio delegate to the NCTA. Berry’s involvement with the OCTA led to his induction in the OCTA Hall of Fame earlier this year.

Twinsberry2“Joel and his family are always willing to lend a hand or donate to projects for the Ohio Christmas Tree Association, especially those that promote our industry,” said Valerie Parks Graham, OCTA executive director. “This year alone, Twinsberry Farm donated trees to COSI’s Christmas tree display, Franklin Park’s display and a wreath to the Junior League of Columbus tour of homes. He’s hosted our association’s summer meeting at his farm twice that I am aware of, including this past summer.”

Twinsberry Tree Farm was also one of nearly three dozen tree farms across Ohio that donated Christmas trees to military men and women on active duty overseas through the Ohio Christmas Tree Association’s Operation Evergreen.

Coinciding with Veteran’s Day each year, Operation Evergreen asks veterans to assist Ohio tree farmers in choosing Christmas trees to be harvested and sent to active duty military personnel.

“Joel and his family are very involved with Operation Evergreen,” Parks Graham said. “They provided all of the equipment to wrap and prepare the trees to ship in boxes.”

The trees were delivered to the Ohio Department of Agriculture, where the trees and thousands of ornaments and decorations made by school children were collected and shipped in mid-November. It was the 18th year for the project.

The picturesque rolling hills of Twinsberry Tree Farm’s Central Ohio farm are the perfect setting for a step back in time for that special Christmas tree purchase, and the Berry family and their helpers ensure that everyone has memorable experience. To learn more about Twinsberry Tree Farm, visit www.twinsberrytreefarm.com or visit the farm’s Facebook page.

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