Christmas tree farm works through COVID-19 crisis to continue the tradition
GALIEN, Mi. -- “My parents started it. It was just my mom with a snowmobile suit, apron and a measuring pole out there and dad would take the tractor with the wagon to go get the trees. Much simpler times then,” said Kris Goodenough, Manager of the Pinecrest Christmas Tree Farm.
Established in 1974, the Pinecrest Christmas Tree Farm has been a holiday tradition for many families in Michiana. Now, because of the COVID-19 crisis, this tradition needed some changes.
“We have been doing this for so long, and it is always such a big process. We start in October getting everything set up for tree season anyway, but this year it’s been so different. How do we do this? How do we set things up so it is safer for employees, for customers and will we still be able to get the numbers that we are used to?” said Goodenough.
As they get ready for opening day this Saturday, the staff is preparing new restrictions for the farm. Masks are required when visiting the farm. In order to ensure spacing, the staff has set up socially distanced waiting lines for the wagons that take customers out to the trees. Additionally, once you are on the wagon, individual families will be separated from one another.
Typically, after customers select their tree, they would enter the shop to check out. However, this year they have check out windows for those only buying trees. The shop itself has its own socially distanced line outside and is limited to 50 people inside at a time. While they are trying to limit the amount of people in the store, they could not forget about their famous hot chocolate. It actually has its own take out window.
The farm may look different this year, but Goodenough says they hope customers do feel safe enough to continue their traditions because for her – this time of the year will always mean something
“Christmas has always been my thing! I grew up here. I was only 5 when my parents started the farm,” said Goodenough. “And my daughters who are college and high school age are part of this too so we are on the third generation.”