It’s been a while since we got a real tree around here. I don’t like to admit this. We have been using the same fakie tree we bought for $12.99 on sale two days before Christmas the first year we lived together back in our first house in Davis, CA. Since then, every year we talk about going up to the mountains to cut down a tree. Then every year as we pull out our boxes and boxes of decorations we see the tree we bought, that first year and our emotions take over and we carefully assemble it again and promise that this is the last year we use it. That we have to move on from our tattered dust covered version of Christmas past.
This year we spent Thanksgiving in San Diego and when we got home I promised my tots we would head out to get a tree the first free day we had. On Friday, Benjamin came home and begged me to put up our old tree. I hesitate. I resisted then I totally caved and decided to set it up in our family room, reserving our formal living room for the tree we were going to cut down this year.
The next day, we got up early and headed out to cut down our first tree. We stopped in Placerville, a cute Gold Rush era town along Hwy 50 just outside Sacramento, for coffee at Totem Cofee. This is a perfect easy stop on the way up the mountain to get up close with some history and gorgeous architecture. After warming up with mochas and bundling ourselves up even more we continued up the mountain to Pollock Pines where the tree farm we wanted to visit is located. Since we spend so much time in Apple Hill every fall I didn’t want to cut our tree down there. Pollock Pines is just beyond the Apple Hill area off Hwy 50.
Roberts Tree Farm is a family-owned farm and from what I could find doing some research online, families have been going up there for years so I knew it would be worth the trip. The farm is located in a heavily wooded area with windy roads, mountain homes with smoke wafting out of chimneys and crisp mountain air. The parking lot was filling up so getting there early was definitely the right decision.
We navigated our way to the entrance of the farm where we got a friendly greeting from the owners and some instructions for when we found our perfect tree. The farm provides saws and measuring sticks and explained the easy pricing schedule. One of the reasons we chose this farm is because we heard the trees were some of the most reasonably priced in the area. The highest price tree is only $37 and that is for anything over 6 ft.
The farm is over 30 acres and it’s basically a free for all with winding trails throught thick blocks of various types of trees. I heard a woman explaining to her children, “Some farms around here plant with intention. That’s why we come here. They don’t.” I realized quickly what she meant, this farm was far from the perfectly manicured rows of trees you find in some farms around. This farm is like hunting for a tree in the wilds of a long lost forest and we were so into it. We weaved in and out of trees, jumping over branches and sliding down muddy trails. We explored a creek area. We played games and pretended we were royalty and knights.
The most intriguing part of this place was the people we met along the way. Families, dogs and loving couples all happily looking for a piece of Christmas. Everyone chatted and laughed together. It was one big community of peaceful excitement and we plunged deeper into the experience with each step.
When we found our tree it wasn’t at all what we were looking for only we knew it was ours. We all agreed and in less than a minute it was cut and we were on our way out. The employees at the farm net the tree and provide string to tie the tree to the car. The whole process of securing the tree didn’t take as long as we expected and we were on our way.
Roberts Tree Farms is definitely a tradtion we are going to continue. The kind people who run the place and the experience of being surrounded by a forest packed with new experiences and hoiday cheer, is something we can’t wait to return to.
Roberts Tree Farm is located at 5645 Gilmore Road, Pollock Pines, CA and can be reached by phone at 530-644-2831. Farm hours are 9:30 am to dusk daily during tree season. Parking is a dirt parking lot and outhouse style restrooms. The farm has gift shops and a place to purchase warm beverages.
A list of all the tree farms in El Dorado County can be found here