MERCERSBURG, Pa. — Fueled by hot chocolate and warmed by a bonfire, children darted around Cherry Run Farm on Sunday as adults strapped Christmas trees to pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles.
Jeff Hull, who owns the farm with his wife, Beth, said families need little guidance when selecting among the Fraser fir, concolor fir, blue spruce and Douglas fir trees.
“The best advice I can give is beauty is in the eyes of the beholder,” Jeff Hull said.
Some people prefer the concolor firs for their citrus scent, while others like the blue spruces because they can hold heavy ornaments, he said.
“I tell them they can hang a brick on a blue spruce,” said Jeff Hull, who backed up his theory by successfully trying it.
In 2000, the Hulls moved to their 100-acre farm that straddles the line between Franklin and Fulton counties. They planted trees a year later to fulfill a desire to do something meaningful with the land and share it with people.
Today, mature trees stretch in lines to the horizon.
“I put them in and had no idea the amount of work involved. It’s a labor of love,” Jeff Hull said, saying the 10,000 trees require mowing, herbicides, pesticides and shearing by hand.
While Jeff Hull was starting to work with the trees, his wife turned her attention to alpacas. The couple has 30 that they breed and show. They sell alpaca fur products in the farm’s gift shop and sell wreaths made by Beth Hull.
Visitors to the farm this weekend petted the alpacas while their trees were removed from the field, shaken of excess needles, baled and drilled for stands. Jeff Hull pulled lip balm from his pocket and discovered it was frozen, but his demeanor stayed warm as he greeted customers.
Some people tag their chosen trees throughout the year.
“For every tree that gets dug, there are five or 10 planted,” Jeff Hull said.
Travis Yonker and Erin Smith, who said they live near the farm, brought 6-year-old Trayton Yonker to Cherry Run Farm in search of a tall tree. They said searching for a live tree was a new experience.
“It’s the first time since we were kids, both of us,” Yonker said, turning to Smith.
The experience is one they’ll try to repeat in the future, he said.