Pinestead Christmas Tree Farm Frequently Asked Questions
Do you take Credit Cards?
Yes. We take Visa, Mastercard, and Discover. Both credit cards and debit cards. We do not take American Express
When will Santa be there?
Santa is here from 11 am until 2 pm on Thanksgiving Friday/Saturday/Sunday and the first two Saturday/Sunday weekends in December. We have him seven times for a total of 21 hours!
Why are the fields closed? I see lots of nice trees out there.
Each fall we determine how many trees we can safely sell and still have an adequate supply for the following year(s). We generally place price tags on that number plus about 10%. We then close the fields when only about 10% of the tagged trees remain. A tree can be a perfect 7'-8' specimen and not be tagged because we are trying to get some 8'-10' or 10'-12' trees. Quite frankly, we will not allow ourselves to become a picked-over tree farm, opening the season with 5'-6' trees! We believe allowing unlimited cutting is not a sustainable business strategy. We recognize that we are sacrificing late-season business in favor of our early-season business, but feel we have no choice, we do not have unlimited growing land (each tree requires about 40 square feet of growing space).
Why can't we cut trees that don't have a price tag?
As you can see from the previous FAQ, it is absolutely essential that we have an adequate supply of premium 7'-10' trees when we open for the season. The only way to do so is to be 'hard-nosed' about preserving a stock of trees from this season for the next season. Remember that after shearing, they only add 12"-14" per year so we can't sell down to the 6' level this year and expect to have any 8' or 9' trees the next year.
Why don’t you have larger trees--10', 12' or larger--available for cutting in the field?
We would sure like to but have found it is very difficult to do once a tree reaches 9'-10' feet. We have experienced some very upset customers when we tell them they can't cut that 9' beauty! (And some cut them anyway which gets us very upset)! That is why we established a separate farm, not open to the public, where we can allow them to reach the larger sizes before cutting. The downside is that they are only available as pre-cut, not choose-&-cut.
Why do the pre-cut trees look better than the Choose & Cut trees (later in the season)?
Think of it this way. The first choose-&-cut customer takes the best tree in the field. It's gone. The next customer takes the best (remaining) tree in the field. It's gone. The next customer takes…. It's gone. Gradually the quality begins to decline.
Meanwhile, the first pre-cut customer takes the best tree in the lot. It's replaced. The next customer takes the best tree in the lot. It's replaced. The next customer takes…. It's replaced. It's only when we have no more replacements, typically after the second weekend of the season, that the quality of the lot begins to decline.
It's important to recognize that we do not cherry-pick our best trees for the pre-cut lot (we have been accused of this). Quite the contrary, we established a second farm just to grow our pre-cuts so we don't have to cut any off the main farm. The only trees we cut on the main farm are those few remaining in a area that will be replanted the following spring. They have to go so we can prep the ground for replanting (we have to remove the stumps and level and till the ground).
It's only the second weekend in December, why is the selection becoming limited?
The season seems to be more front-end loaded each year. At the end of Thanksgiving Sunday we have had about 50% of our season sales and most of our larger trees are gone. At the end of the first weekend in December about 80% of our customers have already been here and the remaining trees are 7'-8' or smaller. By the end of the second weekend (usually around December 12th-14th) we are 95% done and often have to start closing fields and reducing open hours.
Can I pre-tag a tree before the season starts?
Sorry, but we do not offer pre-tagging of trees. Our fields are large enough that we cannot see all the folks actually cutting trees and a tag on a tree is like a magnet. Other farms have reported that unless you actually have an employee accompany each group heading out to the fields, many pre-tagged trees will have disappeared by the time the folks who originally tagged the tree arrive. In addition, other farms have reported considerable negative feedback and disappointment from folks that show up early in the season, especially Thanksgiving weekend, only to find that many trees are already pre-tagged as sold.
Is it possible to come out and get our tree on Thanksgiving day?
We are a family farm and we place our emphasis on the family tradition aspect of the holidays. One of our traditions is a large family gathering and dinner on Thanksgiving day. We have been working non-stop for several weeks to get everything set up for the season, this is our one and only day off until we close at Christmas. We have made the decision to keep it sacred. We hope you also have some sacred traditions for the holidays. They are glue that helps bind the family together.
The kids love the trains. You must put a lot of time and effort into them. Can we see them at other times?
(Ok, so I made this one up.) I (We?) love them too, but generally I’m working on the next phase off and on over the off-season months and have sections of the track torn up so they are not operational. They do take a lot of time and effort. I have put hundreds of hours and (don’t tell my wife) many many dollars into the trains. But they do keep me healthy as I have climbed the stepladder thousands of times.
Where can I recycle my tree?
This is a hard one to answer as each city has different pickup days or drop-off locations? You need to make a quick call to your city office to find out the particulars. The advantage in using the city facilities is that the tree is usually chipped and used around city trees or hiking trails. Many are also used by sportsman’s organizations to establish fish sanctuaries in shallow waters. However, another good use is to set it in a snow bank and decorate it with carrots, popcorn, bread, peanut butter, etc. for the over wintering birds and animals. It makes a great winter activity for the kids.