Helen and Phil Hartley; Greg and Katie Hartley & Family
Pinestead Tree Farms, specializing in Christmas trees and conifer landscape trees, is a family farm owned by Phil and Helen Hartley in Isanti, Minnesota. Helen's specialty is wreath making. Phil does most of the computer work and more and more says "yes, sir" to Greg when it comes to helping with the field work. Phil may be still in denial, but in reality the torch has been passed.
That's because our son, Greg Hartley, manages the production and operations, and his wife Katie Bradley-Hartley, works wonders decorating the Gift Shop always filling it with displays of ornaments and crafts. In addition, our other family members and spouses help out on weekends during the holiday season. And we look forward to when the grandkids can help out as well. While the oldest, at age 15 can tote some pretty respectable trees around, for most, their primary "job" is to model our many photo ops. Most have a few years to go before they can get added to the work schedule. However, we have taken 'babysitter' off our list of job positions.
The first Christmas trees at Pinestead Tree Farms were planted in 1986, and these trees came to a sufficient size to enable the first sales seven years later, in 1993. We farm about 50 acres of trees, rotating the fields to plan for new harvests in 9 to 10 years, depending on the variety of Christmas tree and the desired size.
Our trees have won more than 70 ribbons at the Minnesota State Fair, including both the 2006 and the 2009 Grand Champion Fraser Fir. More recently we won the 2017 Reserve Champion with a Balsam Fir and in 2018, our Blue Ribbon Fraser Fir also won the People Choice Award. Please check out our several Professional Involvement and Recognition pages.
Our model train layout was featured in the American Christmas Tree Journal and has been the subject of two presentations at the National Christmas Tree Association (NCTA) conferences. The trains run any time the Gift Shop is open. We love to show them off, so stop by, no purchase is necessary.
We certainly want to recognize the great group of employees here at the Pinestead, especially Ron who has been with us for several years.
We also want to recognize the teams of helpers Helen has assembled to make your visit smoother and more enjoyable. The first picture below shows Helen with her field crew. The second picture below shows Helen with her courtyard crew. We may have missed a few as they don't always come when called. Now if we only could teach them to say "may I help you" and "thank you". So let us say "THANK YOU" for them and from all of us.
Pinestead Tree Farms is a member of the Minnesota Christmas Tree Association (MNCTA), and the Minnesota Grown Program. We are also proud to support our national community through the Christmas Spirit Foundation and it's Trees for Troops program.
Wreaths and twine
Snow on our sign
Music and cider
Bale them tighter
Pause from the fast paces
Healing warm fire
Colored lights to my lens
Count the slips
Marshmallow to my Lips
Notice the moon
Time to pack up soon
Home we drive
It's almost five
Supper will soon be ready
And the warmth is steady
Postscript--Helen wrote this poem one evening in 1990, our first year of selling Christmas trees. This was at our original East Bethel location. We had a small unheated shelter and ran an extension cord from the neighbors for Christmas lighting.