Despite having to cut out wholesale customers, there is no shortage for families seeking the perfect Christmas tree this year says Joan Fleming, owner of the Saanichton Christmas Tree Farm.
Fleming and her brother, Mike, operated the farm for over 50 years but when he died unexpectedly last year it left the family in disarray. He also operated the Woodstock Evergreen Farm in Brentwood Bay, which would supply trees to the majority of the whole sale customers.
Fleming says it’s been a horrible year without him, adding that she feels awful about having to cut out her wholesale customers. She tried her best to help connect the customers that had to be turned away with other tree farms in the province and even went to the BC Christmas Tree Council to seek help but no avail.
“[The whole situation] made me feel really, really bad,” she says. “But I have to look out for myself and there’s only so much I can do.”
Adding to the stress of the holiday season, Fleming says it’s been hard to find employees to work at the farm. Currently her crew of 10, mostly women, cuts down 100 trees per day to keep up with demand but Fleming says it’s tough work because of how large some trees can get.
Families wanting to cut their own tree can go to the farm any day of the week, up until Christmas Eve, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. to choose the right one, whether it’s a bushy Martha Stewart tree or the perfectly imperfect Charlie Brown tree, Fleming says she’s got them all. In addition to the trees, the farm offers tons of holiday wreaths and hanging moss baskets.