Cornucopia happy to provide fresh cut Christmas trees
November 30, 2022, 11:58 am
Sierra D'Souza Butts, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
The family owned business, Cornucopia Tree Nurseries, have been providing fresh cut Christmas trees to people and families in southeast Saskatchewan and surrounding areas for years.
The local Christmas tree farm is located two miles south of Rocanville, Saskatchewan.
Aaron Hack said Cornucopia Tree Nurseries is one of the few tree patches where people get to cut and choose their very own Christmas tree.
“It’s great seeing the individuality of people when they come to pick out their trees,” said Hack.
“What I think is the perfect tree isn’t necessarily your perfect tree. Sometimes people find one that’s flat at the back so they can stick them at the corner of their wall or they might prefer a wider, more bulky tree for their home.
“I like that people are happy when coming out because they’re having fun, they’re finding their spot and we’re able to help them with something that they’re doing.
“You don’t see people who are mad or grumpy about having to find a tree for Christmas, that they don’t want to do this. They enjoy it, and it’s fun for us.”
The average height of most indoor Christmas trees is about seven feet tall. Hack said it takes about eight to ten years for trees to grow that size, and a bit longer for them to reach the 12 to 14 foot mark.
“For the Christmas trees that are six to seven feet tall now, we seeded them around 2005,” Hack said.
“My sister Heather is the one who first seeded some of the trees and we just kept on going every year. Then in 2017 is when my wife and I took over, that’s when we started expanding on the retail side.
“We started to get more trees that were ready to sell around that time, it’s been a gradual process.”
Hack spoke about why he enjoys growing and maintaining trees all-year around.
“There’s a real need for it and that’s part of the reason why we’re expanding is because there’s a shortage of quality, fresh cut trees,” said Hack.
“A lot of the trees that are around are shipped in from out of Eastern Canada, but they’ve been on a truck, they’ve been cut early, they’re dried out.
“Plus, when they’ve been cut down there, the trees aren’t used to the Saskatchewan cold. That cold weather could affect and change the needle drop of the tree, and everything else because they are frozen when they get here.
“I’m a part of the Prairie Christmas Trees Grower’s Association and that’s where we source our seedings. We get a nursery up in Prince Albert to grow our seedings for us and everything that we use is all from Saskatchewan, it’s all hardy for the environment. If you bring seeds from another area, it may not really thrive and grow in this environment.”
People come from all different areas to pick out a tree at Cornucopia Tree Nurseries.
“Our purchases vary, it’s been picking up more all the time. I think last year we sold around 175 trees,” he said.
“Right now we’re definitely trying to provide more because there is only one wholesaler in Saskatchewan which is up at North Battleford.
“We have people travelling up from the U.S. border, into southwestern Manitoba, we’ve got people travelling two hours to come and choose their tree from here.”
Growing trees are great for the environment
Planting the seeds and growing the trees every year is also great for the environment, Hack added.
“With a lot of the Christmas tree farms (out there), the trees are being grown on patches of land that aren’t normally as great for grain farming,” said Hack.
“Because tree growing is more of an intensive agriculture, you can utilize small patches which is great because you’re using farmland that has never had trees on it before.
“Plus, we’re planting trees on those lands every year and it’s a crop we’re growing for that specific purpose. It’s not like we’re going and cutting down trees, we’re actually helping out because we’re putting in more. Also with the landscape side of it too, we’re scaling up the landscape by keeping the trees there that don’t really make it out as a Christmas tree.”
Hack spoke about the importance of providing a space that offers good quality and fresh trees to people in rural communities.
“There’s a lot of people out east who are retired from growing fresh trees, and we’re also seeing that here where we’ve got growers who are retiring,” he said.
“It’s a hard industry for a lot of people to start. We see that on the association where there’s a lot of growers that start, and because it’s a lot of years of investment, time, and work before you start getting a return, it’s not always easy.
“We’ve got 2,000 seedings coming in for 2024, but we won’t see any income off of those for another, realistically, 10 years. Plus you have all the work that goes into them every summer, it’s a lot of work, but it’s a labour of love.”
Hack said a lot of preparation goes into planting and maintaining the trees.
“We just planted some seeds this spring, those will be in the seeding bed for another year or two then they’ll be transferred out in the field,” said Hack.
“Once they get to be about three or four feet tall we start shearing them and shaping them every summer to get them growing nice and dense. We start filling them to get the shape that you want and then you keep on doing that.
“Those little ones that we planted in the spring, they’ll probably be at least another seven or eight years before we start getting something in that seven foot range.”
Hack said he enjoys maintaining the trees all year around.
“It’s a beautiful spot to be in the summer out here shearing because you get the smell of Christmas in the summer,” he said.
“It’s really neat seeing them grow. The trees are one side of it, but I also love that it’s connected to Christmas because it’s something fun. Memories are being made and you get to see new traditions being started.
“It’s really neat when you see families coming back and you see the kids grow, you recognize things like that.”
Hack was asked what it is like for him and his family to pick out that special tree for Christmas time.
“What my family does is we go out and pick the most scraggly, Charlie Brown tree and give them a good home,” he said.
“My kids love doing that because if a deer damages it or something happens and they’re never going to make it as a Christmas tree, it’s neat to have that tree serve a purpose.”
Eventually, Cornucopia Tree Nurseries plans on creating a Christmas tree maze at their site, along with activities for kids and families to enjoy while they are shopping.
“There’s a lot of things that we’re planning on for our future, as far as family activities and different things because as we get people who are travelling from farther, we’re planning on providing things to make a day out of it for them and to have some fun,” he said.
“Also, I enjoy the fun and excitement of everyone finding their perfect tree because we’ll have it here. I’m sure if you look long enough we’ll find a tree that will fit your spot.”
Hack said people are welcomed to stop by Cornucopia Tree Nurseries any time they like to pick out a perfect tree that suits them.
Although appointments are encouraged, to help families out with the tree cutting and shipment, drop-ins are also welcomed.
More information can be found on the businesses website: www.cornucopiatrees.ca. Tweet