Nestled deep in the Blue Ridge mountains of western North Carolina lies Avery County, a small but bustling enclave of Christmas agriculture.  Avery County produces the bulk of Fraser Fir trees and Christmas wreaths sold in North America, kind of like Santa’s workshop for Christmas trees.  Growing trees line the mountain sides as “farmer elves” hastily work in the fields to ensure every home has a beautiful and fragrant tree to celebrate the season.  Nestled quietly within this hub of holiday agriculture lies a boutique family farm catering to a discerning clientele for which only the best in holiday greenery will suffice.  Upon arriving at Tommy and Sons Farm, I was greeted by Lora Daniels and her daughter Hailey.  They should be fashion models, both are gorgeous.  I felt like I should smooth my hair in fidgety self consciousness.

Lora Daniels
Lora warmly introduced me to her husband Brian and son Diesel.  Brian’s father started the farm as a mail order business years ago and gradually Brian and his brother Jason joined the family venture.  Today both brothers along with their wives, Lora and Deanna, run the farm and hand make all greenery for purchase. 

Lora led me on a tour of the facility.  She comes from a family with a history of agriculture and horticulture, so she’s well versed in the business of all things green.  Lora explained that the farm hires stay-at-home mom’s during the holiday season to make all wreaths and greenery.

Handmade Wreaths

In fact these moms make the wreaths mostly in their own homes.  I thought the idea was progressive and novel!  The farm gives an opportunity for their ‘worker mothers,’ most having two to four children, to earn money during the holidays on a flexible schedule that works for their families.  A creative and empowering idea I thought – Brilliant!

Lora also explained that the farm focuses on quality over quantity.  The wreaths are much larger than the typical Christmas wreath purchased in a retail store and the attention to detail is very evident.  Roughly nine pounds of greenery goes into each wreath made which is considerably larger than the standard retail allowance.  Lora inspects each wreath meticulously and hand trims each tip to the perfect length.  This is what makes their product in such high demand as they ship countless hundreds of custom made wreaths in all shapes and sizes every year.  The farm only takes the orders that they can successfully fill with product meeting certain standards.

Everyone gets in on the action!

I asked Lora to give Effortless Girl readers a few general tips on holiday decorating.  She described a perfect table setting for a Christmas party in a pinch.  First a simple table cloth or place mats that are a solid color create the table base.  For the centerpiece, Lora would use a “candle holder” wreath made by the farm.  It is a small version of the standard wreath that looks beautiful with a simple candle in the center.   Fraser Fur bows could be spread down the table as a table runner and the party is ready to begin!  This is a simple and gorgeous setting – not to mention fragrant for everyone around the table. 

Next, Lora gave some decorating tips on how to dress up a plain wreath.  She explained the quickest way is to add a colorful bow.  Holiday trends this year include wrapping the wreath in strips of burlap or adding ornaments in strategic locations.  Her personal favorite is adding delicate white roses to the wreath.  Roses juxtaposed among the tree limbs adds a unique elegance to reflect Lora’s personal style.

Fraser Fir Wreath


I asked Lora to show me the process of wreath making so here she goes!

Wreaths begin as piles of Fraser Fir limbs and Lora carefully selects and trims each tip to go into the wreath.
       

Tips are bunched together and mechanically bound onto a frame.
                                          

Lora arranges each branch just so as the wreath begins to take shape.
                                          
Each tip is layered for the perfect shape as the wreath forms.
                                     

                                       

Hailey and Lora trim, trim, trim each tip before it goes onto the wreath.

                                     

The finished product, almost as large as Lora!
                                          

Tommy and Sons Farm can be found on Facebook.  Orders are currently being accepted for the 2015 season.  Please email tommysonstrees@gmail.com or call 828-733-8118. 


#christmas  #christmastree #christmas2015 #girlpower

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