The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Local News

November 27, 2009

35 years and counting for tree farm

For 35 years, the Richmond Tree Farm has been booming in business.

The man behind the mission says there is no mark on his 2,000-tree map that depicts him slowing down anytime soon.

“I started planting these trees in the early ’70s,” Arthur Richmond, 82, said. “My dad had 21 kids, so we had to either work or starve. There was no farm that I know of back then. People just got their trees out in the woods.”

Richmond’s trees line his property in Raleigh County, which makes it just a little bit easier to manage the upkeep of the Christmas tree farm.

“I start fertilizing them in the spring, then trim them, spray the weeds, cut and sell them,” he explained. “Although a tree can be cut down with a chainsaw in a few minutes, most people want to take their own saw and roam around. I’m happy to help, but I leave it up to them how they want to do it.”

It seems to be that personal experience, along with the quality, that keeps Richmond’s customers coming back year after year.

“I did very well last year, selling about 100 trees,” he said. “I’m definitely not complaining, but I’d like to think I could still do a lot better.”

Along with an occasional hand from his son Bruce and grandsons, Richmond maintains and trims his thousands of trees all by himself.

“I believe people come back here because when they get the tree, they know when it’s cut,” Richmond continued. “When they buy it on the lot, it may have been cut as early as October. When that happens, they get weak and really won’t hold up that well.”

If 2,000 trees were not enough, Richmond gives his customers the choice among White Pine, Norway Spruce and Frazier Fir trees.

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