By Deanne Gagnon
Thirty years ago, Al Miller followed in his brother’s footsteps and started a Christmas tree farm. “My brother out west had started a farm in his retirement, so I started a little earlier, before I retired, and by the time I retired I had the trees ready to sell,” he says. From planting and watering seedlings to trimming and shaping trees, Sandpiper Farm is run by Al, his wife Marilyn, their son Chris, daughter-in-law Jen, and grandchildren Sara and Shaun. Every tree is trimmed by hand; there is quite an art to it, one that Jen says “Chris has mastered.” Around 450 Christmas trees are sold annually.
Al does the planting, then heads south for the winter. Chris and Jen, taking the reins, have been expanding. The Milk House Boutique, aptly named as it resides in the original milk house, features Jen’s beautiful handmade Fraser fir wreaths, and knitted items and jewelry made by Chris’ aunt. Chris also runs a wood mill, producing local lumber for sale. You can expect to be greeted with candy canes for the kids, hot chocolate, apple cider, and possibly some delicious Christmas cookies.
The Miller family takes pride in the business’ atmosphere of togetherness. “It’s really nice when people come out. It’s such a good feeling, everybody in a great mood with their family. It’s really family oriented. It’s great seeing all the kids every year getting taller,” says Chris. There has been at least one engagement, plenty of photo shoots, and they were even involved in locally filmed movie, Angelique’s Isle.
With reasonable prices of $35-45 per tree, Sandpiper Farm is a great place to take the family to cut down the perfect Christmas tree and kick off this holiday season. Contact the farm at 622-7349 or find them on Facebook at facebook.com/SandpiperChristmasTrees.