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New family continues cherished Christmas tree farm

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CLARKS GROVE, Minn. (KTTC) - Budd's Christmas Tree Farm was a holiday tradition for many families for over 40 years. Three years ago, it changed hands to the Tenneson family to continue under a new name, The Evergreens.

To John and Jamie Tenneson, the idea of a Christmas tree farm was a new concept.

"We've never had a Christmas tree before this," said Jamie.

However, when contacted by Mr. Budd to purchase property that had previously been owned by John's family, they agreed.

"Mr. Budd was very helpful the first year that we were here because we knew nothing," Jamie said. "It's a lot of work but it's fairly simple once you learn how to do it."

A Christmas tree takes 7 to 10 years to grow. The work begins in spring: grinding stumps, removing cones, spraying for insects, mowing, shearing and weeding. Luckily, John and Jamie have eight sons as helping hands, even in winter.

"They stay warm. They're running around," said John. "A lot of trips inside for hot cider and coffee. It keeps everybody moving. Nobody's sitting still when it's that cold."

Whether you prefer the popular Fraser fir or the long-needle Scots pines, you are sure to find your dream Christmas tree at The Evergreens. Once you find that tree, they even provide saws in case you want the honor of cutting it down yourself.

"People really enjoy. I'd say the majority of people that come out here, that's the novelty," John said. "They take their kids out here. Some of the people remember being little kids out here and now they're bringing their children."

The family sees special moments on the farm from wedding proposals to baby reveals. The Evergreens are not just a tradition for families. It also invites field trips and wreath making classes.

"Those things are a lot of fun," said John. "The memories and meaning so much to the community and to a lot of the people that come out here."

After planting 1,600 trees in a year where John got in an accident, leaving most of the work to a pregnant Jamie, the Tennesons aim for 4,000 planted next year. While it may not be a lucrative business just yet, the family is happy on their peaceful slice of Freeborn County.

"We tell people a lot of time that we work here to live here," said John.

The Evergreens is open Friday through Sunday from 9 to 4, but they will also allow for special appointments.

Alex Tejada

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