A Family Tradition: Gaude brothers reopen Christmas Tree farm
Published 6:00 am Sunday, November 28, 2021
NATCHEZ — Brothers Brent and Blase Gaude are returning to a family tradition as they open their family Christmas Tree farm weekend
In high school, they played soccer and the season was during November and December. Their parents wanted to watch them play soccer and decided to close down the farm.
Blase recalls many Thanksgivings where the family would eat their lunch and head out to work the farm.
“You would see families come year after year after year to take a Christmas tree home,” Blase said. “At the time, I was in elementary school, and looked up to the high-schoolers who worked on the farm. This farm is about giving back to the community. We are offering Christmas trees during a time in which there is a shortage.”
More than 600 trees are for sale this season. The crop began with plowing the ground, planting foot tall saplings from a nursery, grooming the trees so they would grow straight and mowing grass to keep insects and fungus out of the trees. It has taken five years to grow this first crop.
“It’s a lot of work and manual labor,” Blase said. “Mother Nature will also either give you a drought or a hurricane. You have to react to what Mother Nature does. The ice storm almost laid every tree on the ground. We lost a lot of trees from the ice storm but we were able to straighten a lot of trees back up.”
Green Hills Christmas Tree Farm takes up about five to seven acres on 27 acres of land, he said. In the first year, 300 trees were planted. By the second year, 800 trees were planted until this next year when they plan to plant 1,000 trees.
Trees are priced individually ranging from $50 to $300. THe average is around $15-20 per foot mark. They can range from about 6 to 8 feet trees or as tall as 11 to 12 feet.
“We wanted to offer a tree for everybody,” Blase said. “We hope everyone comes to the farm and finds a tree they like. We grade each tree to get the pricing and there are about 97 different prices in our fields.”
Brent said they have learned a lot from the Tree Farm Growers Association and their parents, David and Ann Gaude. The advice has helped them learn how to price trees, take care of the trees and also prevent any problems which may arise by nipping them in the bud.
For example, his father told him they needed to pick up any loose sticks or else kids would hit each other with them. Some kids were at the farm Tuesday and found some loose sticks. They immediately started wacking each other with the sticks, he said.
When David closed the farm, Brent said several people told him they would miss making memories there. He hopes people can make memories and renew their family traditions.
“Blase and I are both nervous,” Brent said. “The experience they had with our parents, we worry about if we will meet their expectations. We hope to offer a good service. You can slow down and spend a day out on the farm with your family and create new memories.”
Green Hills Christmas Tree Farm is located at 2 Roberts Lane in Natchez 1.5 miles south of Roux 61. It will be open Nov. 26-28 at 8 a.m. to dark, Dec. 3-5 from 8 a.m. to dark, dec. 10-12 from 8 a.m. to dark.