OAKLAND — There’s nothing easy about picking out a Christmas tree at the Oakland Tree Farm. There are 10,000 choices, ranging from 2 to 12 feet tall in several species.
But Phil and Kim Adams love sharing the tree tradition. They’re on the verge of their 20th year of opening up their farm and welcoming families who are looking for the perfect tree. They believe in their business logo: “Where Christmas memories begin.”
“We just open up the farm and allow people to have a fun day on the farm,” Phil Adams said.
“We feel the Christmas spirit from the families coming through looking for a tree,” Kim Adams said.
On the Friday after Thanksgiving, the 45-acre farm on Green Valley Road will begin its holiday season with daily hours from 9 a.m. to dark through the Sunday before Christmas Day. Visitors can cruise 25 acres of trees and select from the popular Nordmann fir, grand fir and noble fir or from Douglas fir, blue spruce, concolor fir or Siberian spruce.
Phil Adams, 53, is a resource manager for Roseburg Forest Products and has been in the tree-growing business all of his professional career. The tree farm, he said, is “my hobby gone mad.”
“He’s good at growing trees. He’s really good at it,” said Kim Adams, 54, who also worked at RFP and recently retired to the farm full time.
The Adamses got into the Christmas tree growing business in 1985. They lived in Roseburg, but leased property near Kellogg and began planting trees. Phil Adams spent weekends planting and maintaining trees.
When Willard Lee, owner of the Oakland Tree Farm, decided to retire after about 30 years in the business, the Adamses purchased the operation in 1994 and moved from Roseburg to the farm.
In developing the farm, the couple had the help of their three children — Emily, Nick and Nathan — through their junior high and high school years.
At one point, the farm sold 5,000 trees wholesale another 1,200 retail to farm visitors.
Wholesale markets dwindled during the recession, so other than continuing with a couple longtime out-of-state customers, the farm has concentrated on the U-cut and retail business. They said their U-cut business has increased because there are fewer U-cut farms to visit in central Douglas County.
“Some of the other mom-and-pop U-cuts have gone away,” Kim Adams said. “Last year, for the first time, people said, ‘Are you going to be here next year?’ They said this place has gone away and that place has gone away. People still want that family tradition of going out, deciding on a tree, cutting it down and taking it home.”
Bev and Vic Long of Roseburg have been making the annual trip since the Adamses’ first year at the farm.
“I’d recommend them to anybody,” Bev Long said. “It’s a great family atmosphere with the hot cider, the hot cocoa, the candy canes, walking down to find a tree and then shaking it and binding it up for the trip home. Overall it’s a great experience, a different experience that you don’t get in town. They make it special for you. They make everyone feel special.
“There’s a great selection of trees, the quality, the price. It’s well worth the price to make the visit,” she added. “Getting the tree is part of the joy of Christmas.”
Bob and Debbie Moreland of Oakland have also visited the farm for many years to find their tree.
“The Oakland Tree Farm is a shining star in our Christmas traditions,” Debbie Moreland said. “The Adams family provides a warm welcome every year, treating us like family.”
It’s tough to choose a tree, she said. “Walking the beautiful farm, finding the perfect tree and sipping hot cocoa are enjoyable preludes to our annual tree fight.”
The Adamses said the joy they see in families having a good time at the farm through December helps them get through the long days.
Kim Adams said she thinks that with the recent economic troubles, more people are staying home during the Christmas holiday season. She said there’s been an increase in the number of flocked trees, which cost a little bit extra, but provide an added special touch.
“It’s fun for me,” Phil Adams said. “I’m looking forward to this year. The trees look as good as they’ve ever looked.”
• News-Review business reporter Craig Reed can be reached by calling 541-957-4210 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.