Finding just the right Christmas tree isn’t always the easiest task, but when it’s done with the whole family, it can be a memorable experience.
Adding an extra layer of fun is the chance to actually go out into the field and cut down your own. At Seekonk Tree Farm, the last chance for folks to have their own tree cutting adventure was the second weekend of December and Connecting Point’s Brian Sullivan traveled to Great Barrington to bring us the story.
Learn more about Peter Sweet, Sr., the man behind the tree farm, in a digital exclusive interview.
Read the Full Transcript:
Brian Sullivan, Connecting Point: The time honored tradition of a family heading out to the wilderness to cut down their own Christmas tree, seems like the kind of thing that was likely immortalized in a Norman Rockwell painting.
Well, what better place to find life imitating art than in the next town over from Rockwell’s hometown of Stockbridge, Massachusetts. This is the outer edge of Great Barrington.
And if there’s a vehicle traveling down Seekonk Road on this cool, crisp and sunny Saturday, there’s a good chance it’s heading to either lot number one or lot number three of the Seekonk Tree farm.
It was here on lot three that the original seeds of this family business dream were first planted back in 1978. And every morning that Peter Sweet Senior gets to wake up to this view, he can rest assured that he picked the right spot.
Peter Sweet Sr., Seekonk Tree Farm: I was fortunate enough to know the original owners of the property, which was a 250 acre farm, and I was friends with the with the children and eventually I ended up being able to buy one the first piece of property from the mother that owned own the farm and it’s just a beautiful area.
I mean, lucky to have it.
Sullivan: As for finding the right tree, the care, precision and scrutiny that are applied in the process might only be rivaled by that of purchasing a new car or house.
Making the task even more difficult is the sheer volume of trees to choose from, whether freestanding or pre cut
Peter Sweet Jr., Seekonk Tree Farm: This lot here we have seven acres.
There’s about 9000 trees on this, this lot when it’s fully planted and all different stages, then we have probably about 22 to 25 total in production.
Lot three is another seven acre parcel and lot two, which is currently closed, is another seven acres. And then we have some neighbors land that we use here and there.
So it’s about 30 to 40000 trees in production.
Sullivan: For people looking for only precut trees, lot one was the place to be.
There’s also the recently constructed gift shop here, which has been a popular attraction since it was built in 2020.
But for folks looking to get out there and cut their own, lot three was the destination.
For younger brother Chris Sweet, who takes time away from his own tree business just a mile up the road to help out here, every year feels like a homecoming of sorts.
Chris Sweet, Seekonk Tree Farm: Well, it’s a lot of fun to see people once a year come in.
They’re always happy. They’re always cheerful. It’s definitely a family experience.
We also do that at my lot a lot too. And like this morning, I ran into a guy who’s been coming for about 25 years, and he, I recognized him immediately, he recognized me and he’s like, “Hey, we’re back”, you know?
So, yeah, it’s definitely a nice family package experience.
Brian Sullivan: It almost seems like a better idea to pick the tree from a distance first before heading into the field, because it’s easy for people to lose sight of what they’re looking at when they’re walking through what may feel like endless rows of Fraser firs, cane and firs, conical firs, and even white pine.
But, maybe people aren’t even looking for the perfect tree. Just the perfect tree for them.
There aren’t too many among us who at one point in time didn’t get stuck with what they call the Charlie Brown Christmas tree. And in a place like this where folks actually get to pick their own, kind of hard to come by.
But believe it or not, there are still some people who prefer that unusually shaped tree.
Danielle Sweet, Seekonk Tree Farm: I personally like the Charlie Brown trees.
You know, I get the ones that the deer, the deer rub off half of it. You know, that’s my tree. That’s my perfect tree. I love it.
You know, you make it look good. So I kind of tell them, if one speaks to you, you get it. I say it doesn’t have to be perfect.
You know, nothing’s perfect. Just find the one you like, set it up, the second you decorate it it’s going to be beautiful in your eyes anyway.
Sullivan: The whole event seems to be a fun family experience, but maybe for none more than the family that made it all possible.
Peter Sweet Senior likes to think that since 1978, he’s put this operation together like the old Johnny Cash song, one piece at a time.
Now, with all his family still so close by, he gets to see the fruits of his labor being managed by a third generation.
And when asked if he would have it any other way, the answer was quick.
Peter Sweet Sr.: No, no. I enjoy every bit of it.
I mean, you know, I have friends who are their children are all over the country. And here we are living here, my wife and I. And one son is on some of the property that had initially, the other ones up the road, one mile.
And that’s wonderful.
The other family is a tight knit family and they’re all together.