Brushy Mountain Tree Farm branches out to offer colored Christmas trees.
When Brushy Mountain Tree Farm owners Travis and Teresa Heavner hosted the annual West Virginia Christmas Tree Growers Association’s summer meeting outside Franklin in 2018, they couldn’t have predicted that they would come out of it wanting to offer colored Christmas trees. That is, until a supplier out of North Carolina showed up at the meeting and explained why they should.
“We bought our normal supplies, and my wife and kids said, ‘Let’s try to color some trees.’ I wasn’t sure, because it’s just so different, but we ended up buying two colors from that supplier the first year: white and pink,” Travis Heavner says. The tree farm now offers Christmas trees in red, pink, white, and blue.
The colored trees are grown normally, then dyed using a sprayed-on colorant in the fall to treat the needles and branches. In 2019, Heavner says, they offered about 10 colored trees and sold most of them, and the positive reception has grown ever since.
“Last year I did about three times that many,” he says. “We ended up selling almost all of those, and it seemed like last year the blue ones were the most popular. Your traditional folks will get a regular tree, but then they’ll sometimes grab one of those colored trees as well, just to put in a different part of the room.”
Teresa Heavner says kids enjoy the blue and pink trees for their bedrooms, and adults enjoy planning themed trees—for example, they might buy a blue tree and decorate with blue and gold ornaments to represent West Virginia University. They’ve had requests for black trees, something they hadn’t thought of originally.
“Black might be something we look at in the future,” she says. “Customers have mentioned in the past that they were interested in having a black tree with red ornaments.”
Brushy Mountain’s most popular products, aside from colorful trees, are their homemade wreaths. Teresa Heavner takes a week off work and gathers family members to help create the wreaths, a mix of greenery including Fraser fir, Douglas fir, and white pine with colorful bows, berries, and pinecones. “The wreaths are really popular, and we sold more wreaths last year from our farm than we’ve probably ever sold,” Heavner says.
Since 2006, Brushy Mountain Tree Farm has provided families with much more than Christmas trees and wreaths. The family also plans an array of holiday activities including a fire pit to roast marshmallows, a photo booth, hot cider and cocoa, and wagon rides. “We try to make things as family-oriented as we possibly can and add something different every year,” Heavner says. “It doesn’t cost families an arm and a leg. We keep things affordable and fun for everybody.”
Heavner worked at a different tree farm before he and his wife decided to open their own. Then, his old employer sent families to Brushy Mountain when his tree farm closed, creating a close relationship with customers and families.
“It’s nice once you establish customers to be able to see some of those people come back year after year,” he says. “Some customers have been coming back here to Pendleton County from surrounding states or counties for probably 20 years—they have a tradition of where they want to get their trees. For me, that’s probably the neatest thing, seeing how families change and grow each year.” brushymountaintreefarm.com