by Jennifer Thomas
[dropcap]W[/dropcap]When Gary and Ruth Thomas and their four kids planted their first set of evergreen seedlings in one of their cornfields as a little family project in 1983, they could not have imagined that 35 years later all of the corn would be long gone, and hundreds of local families would be making the annual trek to the Thomas Tree Farm to hunt for the perfect Christmas tree.
After decades of welcoming visitors to their farm at Christmastime, Gary and Ruth have decided to turn the farm over to the next generation and enjoy a well-earned retirement. Their son, Ian, and his wife, Christine, are taking over the business, along with their three children, Abby, Sophie and Matthew. Ian has been helping out at the farm since the beginning and Christine started pitching in after she and Ian married in the mid-1990s, so they’ve got dozens of years of experience under their belts. They’re looking forward to continuing the traditions that have made a visit to the Thomas Tree Farm such a special occasion for so many people.
One of those traditions is the complimentary homemade cookies that visitors can enjoy with a cup of steaming hot chocolate after they choose the perfect tree. Another tradition is the friendly welcome and helpful advice that staff members offer to guests. At the Thomas Tree Farm most of the staffers each year have been family members or friends of the family, and the same will be true this year: along with Ian and Christine and their kids, you’ll probably come across many of Ian and Christine’s siblings, their siblings’ spouses, and their nieces and nephews, all wearing the Tree Farm’s distinctive red or green jackets.
If you come out to the farm this Christmas season, don’t be surprised if you also see Gary or Ruth lending a hand. Once the Thomas Tree Farm is in your blood, it’s hard to stay away!
The Thomas Tree Farm is located at: 6421 McCordick Road, North Gower
Phone: 613-489-2314 http://www.thomastreefarm.ca/