The search for this year’s Christmas centerpiece began Saturday as the Heritage Park Christmas Tree Farm opened and offered a chance for local families to enjoy the holiday nostalgia that sweeps in with the colder weather.
The fresh smell of pine rushes Christmas memories to the front of your mind as you look up to the majestic trees standing tall in rows.
“We actually just took our Christmas card picture here,” San Dimas resident Lori Delgado said. “It’s not crowded and I had a great time when I came to the pumpkin patch here before.”
The Delgado family brought their dogs, Bianca and Eternity, along to let them enjoy the open space at the tree farm. Lori’s daughter, Kandace, trains puppies for Guide Dogs of America and Eternity is a puppy in training to become a guide dog for the blind. They came to the Heritage Park Tree Farm to quickly search for the perfect tree before the football game came Dan Delgado said.
Football seems to be the tree farm’s biggest competitor as La Verne Heritage Foundation President Robin Molina noticed on opening day.
“We were very busy in the morning and then right when the (USC vs. UCLA) game came on there was no one,” Molina said. “Once halftime hit there were a few customers again but none when the game came back on.”
With all of the freshly cut trees brought in directly from Oregon, there is a special addition to the Nobel, Grand and Douglous fir trees that line the farm’s walkway. The Fraser fir trees are a special find that are available at the Heritage Park Tree Farm.
There are delicate differences between the different trees, mostly with the spacing of the stems, and the size and shape of the needles. The Grand firs have a more traditional look with the long thin needles that lay straight out from the stem. Nobel firs seem to have more needles and have a fluffy look with needles stretching up in many directions. One of the fullest trees is the Douglas fir that seems to have more stems with thin medium length needles that are mostly flat. The special Fraser trees are also very plump and full with a lot of shorter bulky needles facing upwards. The subtle differences make the search for a personal favorite that much more exciting when each person finds the right fit.
The average-sized trees range in price from $50 to more than $100, according to size and the type of tree and each tree can be purchased with the tree stand for $15 extra.
“We will probably get a shorter tree,” Sonia Rodriguez said of her future family tree. “These trees seem to go out so much at the bottom and that makes them look so full.”
Sonia Rodriguez came to the tree farm with her husband Oscar and her two children, 3-year-old Nicolas and 1-year-old Sofia. Nicolas took a different approach to the holidays and walked through the trees while roaring and pretending to be a dinosaur.
“We like the heritage behind the park here,” Oscar Rodriguez said. “The history here is what makes it great and we got our first tree here when we moved to La Verne a few years ago.”
The tree farm will be open until Christmas Eve on weekdays from noon to 8:30 p.m. and on the weekends from 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. On the weekends there are $1 rides on “Santa’s sleigh” through the orange orchard.
While many come to the Christmas Tree Farm at Heritage Park for the family atmosphere and the rich history of the farm, others come for more personal reasons.
“I really wanted to come pick out the tree this year,” Kandace Delgado said, “because Dad doesn’t always pick out the best tree when he goes alone.
Angie Gangi can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.