By Christina Gray
Kim and Brian Brown are the owners of Northline Tree Company, which is located in Tangier. Five years ago, in 2013, they planted their first Christmas trees, transforming their family farm into a fun-filled holiday destination. This holiday season the Browns will be ready to open their business to the public as, finally, those first trees are ready to be chosen, cut down and taken home to be decorated by families in Parke County and beyond.
Kim Brown is no stranger to growing Christmas trees. Her father grew trees in Rockville, and her uncle, Edgar Lott, was a member of both the Indiana Christmas Tree Growers Association (ICTGA) and the National Christmas Tree Growers Association. Brown expressed that both of these men were a huge inspiration for the company.
“It’s a lot of very hard work, especially if you’re not starting out in an established farm,” Kim said of the operations of a tree farm, “You have to invest a lot of time. You see a lot of younger people interested in the business, but struggle to keep up with all of the work. We hope that we can inspire anyone who is interested in the business to go for it. It is labor intensive, but it is really worth it when you’re able to follow through.”
Brown said that the ICTGA, of which she is now secretary, has been instrumental in turning dream into reality and helping get Northline Tree Company up and running. “We’ve made every mistake there is to make, and the group has just been a great resource for help and advice, and everything in between.”
Now that the trees are ready, the Browns have been very busy preparing for opening day, Friday, November 23. In addition to updating the landscaping to be more crowd-friendly, they have added electricity to power their tree shaker and rehabilitated a pole barn, turning it into a fully-stocked gift shop, filled with all kinds of interesting gifts, vintage goods, antiques and items made and sold by local artists and vendors.
The tree farm boasts a variety of trees, including Scotch pine, blue spruce and Canaan fir. The couple has also planted several experimental and “exotic” species, like the very fragrant Concolor Fir, some of which will be ready in the next few years. There is also an assortment of pre-cut trees, wreaths, grave arrangements and garlands available for sale. Door-step tree delivery, within a 20-mile radius, is offered for $2 per mile, and if you find yourself unsure of what to do with your tree after the holidays are over, you can request pick up, and your tree will be recycled by the farm at no cost to you.
“We want families to come and enjoy themselves,” said Kim. “Cutting down trees and doing a little shopping at the gift shop aren’t the only activities we have available.” The Christmas tree farm has several photo opportunities, wagon rides, a porch to sit and enjoy the holiday atmosphere, and, in addition to all of that, there is a dining area to enjoy the variety of foods, sweet treats and warm beverages available at the food wagon, which has been graciously lent to the Browns by Gary and Susan Smith.
Keeping their community in mind, Northline Tree Company has partnered with the Parke Heritage FFA. Students participating in the organization will be volunteering their time, helping out at the farm, and, in return, the company will be making a donation to the FFA program.
“Youth are important, and future farmers are important, and we want to do our part to help these young minds grow,” Kim said.
Whether you come for the cut-your own trees, the shopping or any of the other holiday activities, a trip to Northline Tree Company would be a wonderful addition to your family’s Yule-tide traditions.