March 21, 2018
Pine Ridge Christmas Tree Farm
Raising Christmas trees has become a family project for farrier Josh Pounders. Josh and his nine-year-old son Jake, who is in the third grade at Magnolia Heights School in Senatobia, Mississippi, plant and grow Christmas trees at their family-owned Pine Ridge Christmas Tree Farm, near Nesbit, Mississippi. They sell the trees directly to the public in a “pick your own” format. Josh encourages families to come out and bring a camera to take plenty of photos, while the kids are let loose to run around, and with Jake’s help, pick out a tree. This makes for a fun family experience that can easily become a yearly tradition.
Josh cuts the tree, then the trees are put on a shaker, pulled through a bailer, and they help the customer load and secure the tree to their vehicle. If a customer doesn't have a safe way to transport their tree, Pounders can deliver the tree if the customer lives within 10-15 miles of the farm.
Josh said he uses the Christmas tree business as a teaching tool so that Jake will learn responsibility, a good work ethic, and how to manage his money. Jake earns wages for the work he does at Pine Ridge and he saves his earnings to purchase the things he wants. Jake also rides in the truck with his dad during the summer months to assist him in shoeing horses. Jake is paid for this work as well.
Together, the two of them have planted over 1800 trees since they started the project in 2013 when Jake was just 4 ½ years old. The first planting was about 300 Leland Cyprus seedlings procured from a nursery in Louisiana. Each year Josh has documented the planting progress on his facebook page [Pine Ridge Christmas Tree Farm] and nearly each photo features, of course, son Jake. Folks can watch Jake grow along with the trees – what a generational legacy!
The seedlings are planted during the winter and it takes about 3-4 years for them to be large enough to sell; thus, 2016 was the first year the trees were ready to harvest. Josh said that here in the mid-south, unlike the northern states, trees can’t be cut weeks in advance and placed on Christmas tree lots for sale. Due to warm climate in the south, Christmas trees have to be placed in water very soon after cutting. This is why you find “choose and cut” tree farms scattered though out the south.
Starting the first of November, Josh opens the farm, by appointment, to photographers and families who use the Christmas Trees as a backdrop for photo sessions – free of charge. Those personalized family photo Christmas cards that you receive or see in holiday Facebook postings, might well have been taken at Pine Ridge.
The farm is open for tree selection beginning the Saturday after Thanksgiving (November 25), 10:30 a.m. until dark. The farm will be open every Saturday and Sunday, 10:30 a.m. ‘til dark, and weekdays from 3:00 p.m. ‘til dark, through December 23rd. The Farm is located at 1923 Fogg Road in Nesbit, Mississippi. Phone 901-262-9733 to schedule an appointment.
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