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Grainger Everyday Heroes: Christmas Tree Farm

10/30/19
Grainger Editorial Staff

Christmas is a time to bring families together. At the Camelot Christmas Tree Farm in DeKalb, Illinois, the Faivre family is growing trees that bring cheer to homes across the Chicagoland area every winter. “When my dad bought this land back in 1968, there were no trees out here,” Bryan Faivre said. “This was a sheep pasture. Every tree you see right now was planted by my father, my brother or myself.”

The farm has taken generations to take root. “Dad had the wild idea to build a lake, so he bought the property and built this lake,” Bryan said. “Then he started planting trees around the lake to beautify it.” He pointed to a low hill at the edge of the property. “All the way in the back, those tall pine trees are left from our first crop of Christmas trees. Dad planted all those, and he would come out here and cut them down and bring them into town to sell them.”

Two decades later, Bryan moved his family to the farm and began growing trees full-time with his brother, Bob. “Bryan and I have been in business since 1989, and our first year of selling was 1994,” Bob said.  Over the years, Bob’s son and son-in-law have also joined the business. “It’s a family operation.” 

A Long Harvest

Amid rows of year-old evergreens, the brothers plant new trees. Bob worked the earth with a narrow-bladed shovel, as his son stood nearby, holding a bright green Balsam Fir sapling that will fill the shallow hole. “We normally don’t plant until springtime, usually we plant in late March,” Bryan said. “This year was a little rough,” Bob added. “We lost 25 to 30 percent of the trees we planted, so we’re putting some in late this fall, hoping they catch a little winter moisture.” 

The farm’s fir, spruce and pine saplings are sourced from across the region. “Lots of different nurseries supply our trees,” Bob said. “Most of them come out of Indiana and Pennsylvania, but we get some out of Michigan and Wisconsin, too. Lots of different suppliers.”

Bringing Families to the Farm

For many DeKalb area families, a trip to the Camelot Farm has become a holiday tradition. “It’s fun, selling the trees and seeing the families come out,” Bob said. Before they started the farm, finding a tree was an annual event for the Faivre family. “As kids, we used to go down to this little tree farm down in Amboy,” Bryan remembered. “We’d get the whole family together, about 20 of us going down. We’d hunt around for a tree, cut it down, and go for lunch in town.”

The Faivre brothers are happy to see other families keeping the tradition of tree hunting alive. “The kids that were coming out here 25 years ago, now they’re bringing their own kids out,” Bob said. “It’s amazing how they remember you, and how you remember them as children, cutting the family’s Christmas tree for the first time. We like being part of that.”

The information contained in this article is intended for general information purposes only and is based on information available as of the initial date of publication. No representation is made that the information or references are complete or remain current. This article is not a substitute for review of current applicable government regulations, industry standards, or other standards specific to your business and/or activities and should not be construed as legal advice or opinion. Readers with specific questions should refer to the applicable standards or consult with an attorney.

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