Life-long farmer Marie Palfrey walks through rows of trees on the two-acre lot where she spends countless hours caring for hundreds of them.

Life-long farmer Marie Palfrey walks through rows of trees on the two-acre lot where she spends countless hours caring for hundreds of them.

Christmas tree farmer enjoys keeping it real

Longtime Metchosin farmer switches gears to keep occupied

The biggest difference between a live Christmas tree and an artificial one is the natural smell, says 30-year Metchosin resident Marie Palfrey.

The long-time local farmer, who now sells Christmas trees from her six-acre farm on William Head Road, said her first crop, will bring that smell to homes on the West Shore.

“I planted them as seedlings five years ago, starting with Douglas fir (and they) have just taken off and are ready for cutting this year,” she says. “(They) may even be a little too big … they’ve all grown naturally.”

Palfrey has always put up a live, local tree for Christmas. To keep her farm status, she decided to start growing them over two acres of her farm after giving up raising Angus beef.

The 74-year-old farmer, who has raised crops and livestock for decades, said she just got bored and needed something to keep her occupied.

“I’m learning as I go along … (it’s) sort of a new thing for me,” she said. “It’s just something I wanted to do. I decided I would (farm) trees before I got too old to do it.”

With more than a thousand of them on her lot, from firs of the concolor (white), Douglas, Fraser, grand and noble varieties to pine trees at various stages of development, Palfrey tends to them every day and even admits having mixed emotions about letting go of the crop she has cared for over the past five years.

“My husband said I would never sell them because I am always talking to them – I spend a lot of time out there,” she said, laughing. “I just like trees around here; they are nice and don’t talk back.”

Palfrey, who lives on the farm with her husband, said despite having arthritis and finding it challenging to be out there some days, she still can’t get enough of the smell and has no plans to stop anytime soon.

“Families (enjoy cutting) them down; it is like an adventure for a kid,” she said. “If you are cutting it down, taking it home, setting it up and breathing in the scent, it is beautiful.”

For more information on Palfrey’s Metchosin trees, contact her at 250-478-5470.

alim@goldstreamgazette.com