• 55°

Dickess Tree Farm offers fresh, clean trees

With Christmas quickly approaching, time is running out for anyone still wanting to pick out that perfect tree.

Tree shoppers have flocked to K. Dickess Tree Farm in Andis for the past several weekends.

For Lisa Cremeans, of Chesapeake, picking the right tree has everything to do with shape.

“Well I used to bring the kids and then we would look for that perfect shape,” Cremeans, said. The mother-of-three said this is the first in a quite a few years that she bought a real tree.

“From here, I know they’re going to last where they’re fresh,” she said. “You can pick shape, whatever your preferences are.

“I love the smell of (live Christmas trees). That’s one thing that I do love about it.”

Owner Keith Dickess said the farm has been busy since Thanksgiving weekend, when it opened for the year.

“Layaway season was huge,” Dickess said. “I’m hoping we’ll see another rise in the number of trees cut.”

A friend of Dickess, Kevin Lambert of Hecla comes to the farm every year to pick out a tree.

“(I just look for) one that looks good with no big holes in it,” Lambert said. “He’s got some good ones and he’s getting more.”

Over the past year, the farm has planted over 1500 trees.

The farm is 131 acres, half of which is covered in Christmas trees.

This year the tree farm has seen an increase in business, as another tree farm in Ohio recently closed down. Now he sees customers that come from Charleston, W.Va. all the way to Portsmouth.

“That’s a long distance,” he said.

While many of the trees have gone to families in the area, Dickess has even sold some to families that live in Texas, Rhode Island and North Carolina.

“They were visiting family and they took it back,” he said. “That happens a lot. A lot of them come in for Thanksgiving.”

The farm’s website, in use for the past four years, has also helped bring in new business.

This is the 33rd year of sales for the family owned business. Planting the trees started seven years earlier.

“It’s a long term investment, because you have to plant years before,” he said.

While the Christmas trees are only on sale in November and December, there is work to be done year around.

“It’s a twelve month process,” Dickess said. “I’d say the main challenge is having the trees prepared. We have 10 months to have everything ready for two months.”

The Dickess family has owned the farm for three generations.

“We’re real close,” he said. “Family’s just an integral part of our lives.”

While his customers make trips to the farm for their trees as of now, Dickess hopes to give them another option in the coming Christmases. The farm is aiming to begin shipping the trees by 2012. The trees will be mailed in laminated boxes that are designed to keep the trees fresh.

The farm uses a machine that cleans the trees, shaking things like bird nests out of them.

The process cuts down on allergens because most people are not allergic to the trees themselves, just the things that are on them.

“Our motto is a fresh-cut tree that’s clean,” he said. “That’s what we can offer that a lot of people can’t.”

K. Dickess tree will remain open until December 22. For information, call the farm at 867-4931 or see the farm’s website at www.kdickesstreefarm.com.