December 6th, 2019
By: Jonathan Gray
Just eleven months ago, in January 2019, Kimberly and Matt Campbell officially became the proud owners of a 30-acre farm formerly known as Raven Brook Farm in Halifax. Since 1995, the former owners, the Sanborn family, had planted and sold several varieties of Christmas trees on the property. In hopes of preserving the history while nodding to the future, the Campbells named their new farm The Farm at Raven Brook, and they look forward to continuing the Christmas tree tradition for generations to come.
The Campbells were fortunate to live just down the street, and knew the previous owner, so when the property went up for sale and the opportunity presented itself, they were thrilled. “It was definitely a family decision to do this.” Kimberly added, “the boys were excited, and passing out the farm business cards at school.”
The Farm at Raven Brook sets itself apart from other Christmas tree farms in the area with an unusual abundance of taller trees. Kimberly said that they have some of the tallest trees available in the area, and in fact, the Town of Randolph recently purchased a whopping 22’ tree for their Town’s tree lighting ceremony. The farm also has a smaller amount of average-sized trees, and new tree seedlings they planted this season.
Kimberly remarked that they “picked the perfect age for boys to be involved on the farm,” cutting and bagging trees, and helping get the farm ready for the season. In addition to Christmas trees, the farm has a small amount of livestock. Nathan, age 11, is the farm’s “poultry man,” and Evan, age 14, is the farm’s “goat man.” Evan is even considering getting into the goatscaping business. The farm chores certainly come with certain perks as well, as Kimberly pointed out the overturned canoe on the banks of the farm’s large pond as one of the added benefits for the family of their new farm adventure.
The Farm at Raven Brook officially opened for the first time just last Friday, and it may close as early as this weekend depending on sales and demand. The short window should not be indicative of a lack of effort put in, however. The family has been diligently working on renovations to the property, mowing the fields, clearing brush, and renovating the buildings on-site, including a farmhouse that they now rent out. This spring, the Campbells also planted 500 Canaan fir trees, a common Christmas tree variety, on the edge of the existing tree plantings. The trees will take some time to reach harvest age, as they expect them to grow “about a foot a year.” Kimberly said that next year they may bring in some pre-cut trees from another farm to increase their supply of average-sized Christmas trees.
Kimberly said she expected the seedlings, which she purchased from a U.S. based supplier, to arrive in a large crate. She was amused when all 500 trees arrived tucked inside a rather small UPS box. The bare-root seedlings were densely packed in, and they’ve now been planted out in the field in a grid pattern, with several years to go before harvest.
For those looking for a “choose and cut” tree, the farm is open this weekend, with both large and small trees available. The Campbells also plan to have farm events and workshops in the future. This weekend, Saturday, December 7th, 10AM to 2PM, Santa will be at the farm.
So stop by The Farm at Raven Brook this weekend, Friday through Monday from 9AM to 4PM, it may just be your last chance to grab a tree in the Campbell’s inaugural year as Christmas tree farmers.
The Farm is located at 137 Wood St. Halifax, MA, and more information can be found on their Facebook page.