Woffords Tree Farm in Rural Valley makes Christmas memories
Christmas tree customers traveling to Woffords Tree Farm in Rural Valley know they are getting close when they turn onto 1030 Wofford Lane and continue down the winding tree-lined driveway to where the Wofford family's two friendly Labradors, Smudge and Buddy, are waiting with wagging tails.
It's the kind of place where returning customers come to buy freshly cut trees or wreaths fashioned from orange-scented fir branches and where children are handed candy canes and coloring books before heading home.
“The customers make it all worthwhile,” April Wofford said.
Trees sell for a flat rate of $30, and wreaths vary in price depending on size and shape.
April and her husband, Dan, own and operate the farm with help from their son Michael, 14, and daughter, Kaylee, 12.
Owning and operating a Christmas tree farm was not part of the couple's original plans.
April said they had been living in a trailer, planning to head out West, when they decided to buy the 86-acre farm in 1999 from one of Dan's relatives.
“We bought the house without even seeing it,” she said.
What they discovered was a lot of overgrown trees and acreage that needed constant care and replanting.
But it didn't take long before they started getting requests from people to buy trees, which they initially sold for $5 or $10.
“That's when we thought: ‘We can do this. We can sell trees,' ” April said.
So the Woffords bought an old bailer and purchased wreath frames and a press.
One of the overgrown trees on the property in those early days was a 50-foot Blue Spruce, which dwarfed the others.
She and Dan figured if they could manage to sell that tree, they would be true tree farmers.
“We sold it for $100,” she said. “It was shipped to Florida for their state tree.”
The Wofford family discovered that becoming true tree farmers takes a lot of work.
“We plant between 3,000 and 5,000 seedlings a year,” April said, adding that many of them have to be planted by hand because of the terrain or because numerous stumps or old growth make using a planter difficult.
The Woffords had been buying their seedlings from an area supplier, but this year had to order from an Oregon company.
That means a likely hike in next year's Christmas tree prices for customers, April said.
“What I used to buy locally, now I have to pay to get shipped in,” April said. “What money we have made goes right back into growing trees.”
And the family, which works as a team year round, puts in long hours at this time of year.
April said the work can be tiring, sometimes frustrating and physically difficult. It involves a lot of standing in the cold and eating on the run.
But the emotional payoff for all of them, April said, is seeing returning customers year after year — customers who have watched the Wofford children grow and whose own children continue to collect Christmas season memories from visiting the farm each year.
“We love our farm,” April said. “I couldn't imagine living anywhere else.”
Brigid Beatty is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-543-1303 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Manorville man shares love for fishing
- Woman hosts annual sale for artists in her Valley Township home
- Kittanning News carries latest books by Boarts and Creel
- Robbery nets stint in prison for Marion Center man
- Ford City council OKs purchase of 2 patrol cars
- Armstrong libraries offering adult coloring clubs
- Funds dry up for Shannock Valley War Memorial upkeep
- New Ken family supports Ford City boy’s toy drive
- Young violinist remains dedicated to his craft, enjoys visits home to Armstrong
- Ford City executive sessions called into question
- Armstrong children can visit Santa in a quiet, calm atmosphere