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Visiting Christmas tree farms becomes family tradition
Cooper’s Tree Farm employees bag trees in Braselton for customers to take home. - photo by Kristen Oliver

Christmas Tree Farms

Holly Hill Tree Farm: 276 Woodland Lane, Dahlonega; 706-864-8222

Bradley’s Christmas Trees: 55 Lawrence Drive, Dawsonville; 770-380-3632

The Kinsey Family Farm: 7170 Jot-em Down Road, Gainesville; 770-887-6028

Cooper’s Tree Farm: 5577 Winder Highway, Braselton; 770-967-6175

Kathy Cooper’s son Tyler leaves for the mountains about 6 a.m. to cut down trees.

The Cooper family, including dad John and daughter Lindsey, operate Cooper’s Tree Farm in Braselton.

Area Christmas tree farms are quite a family affair. Cooper’s Tree Farm and The Kinsey Family Farm are two area Christmas tree farms that have seen a great deal of growth since their inception.

“Our farm has been in business for 30 years,” Kathy Cooper said. “My husband bought it in 1975 and planted the trees. By about 1980, he was selling trees, and it’s just grown into all this.”

The Kinsey Family Farm is celebrating its 10-year anniversary, according to co-owner Andy Kinsey.

“We started out as a very small Christmas tree operation and in the last 10 years, we’ve turned into a very large Christmas tree operation,” Kinsey said. “We’re trying to be a place for families to come and just do the family thing.”

Kinsey said his family avoids anything commercial on the farm to focus on family. Guests can walk around, take a hayride and feed cows, goats and geese.

“You can roast marshmallows and make s’mores and basically just focus on your family for a little while,” Kinsey said.

Both tree farms grow Leyland cypress and Carolina sapphire trees, and they sell Fraser firs. Kathy Cooper and Kinsey said the firs are by far the most popular tree.

“They’re the traditional tree that I think most people grew up with,” Kathy Cooper said. “And it’s just a good tree.”

Kinsey described the Fraser fir as a “beautiful, deep green tree that fills in very nicely and is amazingly fragrant.”

Unfortunately for North Georgia residents and tree farmers, Fraser firs only grow in altitudes above 4,500 feet.

“We have to go to North Carolina to pick up the Frasers because they don’t grow here,” Kathy Cooper said. “We try to get small loads regularly and keep the lot fresh.”

The Kinsey farm also sells Blue ice trees and Norway spruce, which can be planted at the end of the season.

Kinsey said trends in Christmas tree shapes change from person to person. Some people want short and full trees, while others want tall and slim.

“It’s fun that way,” he said. “People a lot of times go, ‘Now which tree is which kind?’ and I like explaining that they’re all the same kind but they have a lot of individual variations, just like we do.”

Both farms also sell locally made wreaths, roping, baskets or mailbox swag. The Coopers sell candles and mistletoe, and the Kinseys sell food inside the barn, including pumpkin rolls, red velvet rolls, breads, jams and more.

“There are all kinds of jams and jellies,” Kinsey said. “There’s frog jam and traffic jam and bear jam — all sorts of weird stuff. It’s just weird, fun, farm-experience stuff.”

Kathy Cooper said this year has already been busy on the farm. The first weekend after Thanksgiving saw hundreds of people ready to purchase a tree.

“It’s a fun thing but it’s very tiring,” she said. “It’s all really family and friends so we have a good time doing it, but it can wear you out, too.”

Kinsey said the farm is a family affair, something he runs with his brother Kelly, their wives and their parents. He used to be a teacher, and most of his employees at the farm are his former students.

They work hard through the holiday season to make sure a visit to the farm is enjoyable for everyone in the family.

“It’s just become a huge tradition for people,” Andy Kinsey said. “With every tree purchased, you get a pewter ornament. This year, being our 10-year anniversary, it’s a really special one. Everyone will have to come here to find out what it is.”

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