CANTON, S.D. (KELO) — Families are getting in the Christmas spirit at the Riverview Christmas Tree Farm. Owner Todd Gannon said it is the busiest year he has seen.
“I think a lot of people didn’t travel for Thanksgiving, so Thanksgiving weekend we were very busy, and also, it’s a great outdoor activity that families can come enjoy,” Gannon said.
The tree farm was open the weekends before and after Thanksgiving this year. On Sunday, the options were limited, but many families were able to find a tree for this holiday season.
“So you come out, grab a saw and head out in the fields and look for a tree that’s been priced and ready to go and cut it down,” Gannon said.
Three-year employee Isaac Deitzenbach from Canton is now a freshman at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He worked at the tree farm over Thanksgiving break.
“It’s been gorgeous outside and it hasn’t been cold or snowing, so I think that’s getting people out and I think the whole COVID thing is just, people want to get out of the house and go outside. I think that’s what’s been helping Todd sell a lot of trees this year,” Deitzenbach said.
This was the second year the Gniffke family came out here to cut down a tree. Oldest daughter Ashtyn was happy she could spend time with family.
“It’s just a good tradition that we just get to bond and be together,” she said. “Find the perfect Christmas tree that we like and just share memories every year.”
This is the first time the Vermulm family has been to the tree farm.
“I like getting a real tree and looking at all these trees that are out here and I can’t wait to chop one down,” Chase Vermulm said.
Spending time with the family was fun for nine-year-old Brynn, but she did have a complaint.
“Eh, it’s cold,” she said.
These three kids hope they will be back in the future.
“We’re having fun and I want to come here next year,” Colt Vermulm said.
“Yeah, I would like to see how many trees there are next year because there might be more,” Chase said.
Sunday, the farm had a little over 100 trees left. They sold over 1,000 trees this year, which is shy of their average because of this year’s lack of precipitation. With good weather and supply, they could sell up to 1,700 trees in a season.
“It really limits the quantity and the height the trees we have. We’re farmers just like everybody else and when it doesn’t rain, our crop doesn’t grow,” Gannon said.
But there is good news from this farm.
“We’ve been very busy this year. Busier than we ever have been,” Gannon said
The Riverview Christmas Tree Farm plants about 3,000 trees per year, and it takes 8-10 years before a tree is ready to be sold.