As soon as the leftover turkey is put away, hunting season opens in Loudoun.
Thousands will head to the county’s cut-your-own farms starting this weekend in search of the perfect Christmas tree.
The Christmas in the Loudoun Valleys holiday tree guide, published by the county’s Department of Economic Development, list the offerings of 12 farms.
Agricultural Development Officer Kellie Boles said approximately 7,500 Loudoun trees will be sold this season, the vast majority during the next two weekends.
Those who venture out into the fields will find more than firs and pines. There will be hot cider and chocolate, wreaths and other holiday accessories, close ups with farm animals and plenty of general good cheer.
Loudoun’s tree farmers are ready to welcome the crowd coming from points near and far.
“We had one family last year rent a minivan from Virginia Beach and came to our farm to cut down a tree,” said Ricky Hoyback of Country Loving Christmas Tree Farm, south of Leesburg. “They said it was an annual tradition that they spend seven or eight hours in the car together catching up on each other’s lives and enjoying the scenery. They pick a different farm each year.”
“I suppose what is most unique about our tree farm is that it is so small,” said Dave Hubbuch, of Blue Ridge Tree and Berry Farm near Lovettsville. “It doesn’t take but 15 minutes or so to pick out a tree, though some linger longer. We also get to spend more time with visitors, answering questions about the trees, meeting family members, and just chatting over hot chocolate and warm cider.”
Lou Nichols is the father of Loudoun’s tree farm industry. A visit to his Bellweather Farm near Purcellville can take on the air of a family reunion.
“We have customers from 20-30 years back— every year,” Nichols said. “Our farm is one of the few where the customer can drive into the field, sometimes right next to the tree. This makes for very easy hauling. Our farm is no frills, just a good tree. We make the customer do most of the work and they love it.”
Middleburg Tree Farm is one of Loudoun’s largest.
“Best question from a client before the season started: ‘How tall is a 6- or 7-foot tree?’ Truly happened this year. I responded 72 to 84 inches,” owner Frans Kok said.
“But seriously, people have come from as far as Georgia to our farm,” he added. “I suspect that they were visiting family for Thanksgiving and decided to take a tree back with them. New visitors always are blown away by the size of our farm and how much walking they end up doing unless they plan what corner of the farm to go to.”
This year they’ve added an Adventure Tree Field, about a 1-mile hike roundtrip, but worth it for a good-looking Norway spruce.
To plan your family’s tree hunting adventure, check out the county’s Christmas tree guide, available online at loudounfarms.org/christmastrees.