On a hillside in Berkshire, NY sits the Cope Family Christmas Tree Farm. Eddie Cope started the farm 20 years ago and has been growing a variety of trees on his 30 acres of land ever since. His organically grown Christmas trees are unique in that they are naturally occurring hybrids — over the decades of growing in proximity, his Fraser and balsam fir trees have naturally crossed.
Eddie is a third-generation tree farmer. His grandfather purchased the land that Eddie farms today in 1929 and planted a variety of trees, including Douglas firs and other Christmas trees. Some of those trees are still standing. Eddie’s father and uncle later moved from New York to Indiana and started their own holiday tree farm there.
Eddie grew up in Indiana, but he moved back to New York to build a house on his grandfather’s land. “You could say Christmas tree farming is in my blood,” he said. He resurrected the tree farm as a side business to his job as a Cornell botanist. Eddie absolutely and unapologetically loves trees. He has established an arboretum on the site, adding new specimens to venerable old trees planted by past generations. One of his favorites is a 110-foot-tall Norway spruce, and he boasts of a Douglas fir that is among the largest in the state.
Over the years, Eddie’s kids and wife helped out with the tree business. Today his sister, Marie Cope Nicholson, comes out from Indiana to help make the wreaths. The small pinecones on the wreaths are from that record-breaking Douglas fir that has been on the family land for years.
The trees are grown without pesticides or fertilizers. They are hand-pruned and hand-harvested. Because he only cuts a few trees at a time, Eddie usually uses a handsaw instead of a chainsaw. After the trees are cut, they are loaded in his truck and delivered right away. The wreaths are made by hand with Marie making the frames themselves — Eddie adds the greenery and pinecones, and finishes them off with Marie’s hand-made bows.
Cope Farms wreaths and trees are available at GreenStar’s West End location from Thanksgiving until Christmas, delivered weekly.