Cranston's Christmas Tree Farm


Hi, Folks...
Thanks for another great tree this year! Thought you might like to see our family video that I just uploaded to Happy holidays. Hope you have a successful year!
— Liz

Choose & Cut Tree Guide : Tree Stands : New Avenues Open Up : Award-Winning Tree

Read our testimonials!

Enjoy the fun at Cranston's Christmas Tree Farm!
Click on photo for larger view

Above photos courtesy of Jacqui Andrews, Lynette Blakesley, Brian Breveleri,
Scott Breveleri, Betsy Cranston, Carrie Cranston, Julianne Crum, Chip Dodge,
Laura Earl, Katie Yeaton Lilly, Ruth Osgood, Carrie Task, and Lauren Wells.

During the holiday season, we sell Choose & Cut or Fresh Pre-Cut Christmas trees from our farm (see tree guide below). We provide hand saws (chain saws prohibited), tree carts, and twine. For $2, we will bale/wrap your tree for ease of handling. At the sales area, we sell our own unique wreaths and greenery, our own maple syrup and more. The "Christmas Crafts for the Cure" project that our daughter-in-law Maryellen chairs to raise money to support the prevention and cure of breast cancer netted over $1,500 from the sale of handmade ornaments, many of which were made by breast cancer survivors. All the proceeds were donated to the Cancer Connection. So far, $10,000 has been donated since the project began five years ago. We thank all those who made these ornaments and those who bought them. 

Choose and Cut Tree Guide

Balsam Fir

Concolor Fir

Fraser Fir

Balsam Fir is a very aromatic soft, short-needled, green conifer with excellent needle retention. This tree is 11 years old and is 7 to 8 feet high. Concolor Fir with its citrus fragrance is a soft, medium needled, bluish-green conifer with excellent needle retention. This tree is 12 years old and is 7 to 8 feet high. Fraser Fir with its own distinct aroma is a soft, short-needled, dark green conifer with excellent needle retention. This tree is 13 years old and is 7 to 8 feet high. We offer an excellent selection of sizes and widths (4 ft. to 12 ft.).

Tree Stand Research Data

The design of most stands limits how much water is available to the tree. A tree stand needs to hold 1 qt. of water per inch of stem diameter of the tree. Always make sure the water level is above the base of the tree or a partial seal will form and reduce additional water absorption.

Information on the tree stand label for the amount of water that a tree stand holds is based on an empty tree stand. Manufacturers do not take into account displacement of water by the tree trunk.

The best tree preservative is plain water. This tree stand has a diameter of 12 inches and a depth of 5 inches which will hold enough water for a 7 to 10 ft. Christmas tree.

New Avenues Open Up

In 2011, Seth and Jon blazed a trail through the woods linking one Christmas tree field to the present retail site. This gives our customers more choices and an opportunity to walk through our scenic woods.

Along the way Seth has added magical Christmas touches. Enjoy!






An Award Winning Farm

Residence of Vice President & Mrs. Dick Cheney

As a family enterprise, we operate Cranston's Christmas Tree Farm in a cooperative manner with each member of the family participating by doing what each is best at. However, we all like to compete. There is always the question, "How do our Christmas trees compare in quality and aesthetics within the region, the state, and ultimately the nation?"

For years, we have entered local and state fairs with success. Seven years ago, Seth, gave us a pewter Christmas tree ornament with a stately Christmas tree in the foreground, the White House as a backdrop. He penned, "It is within our reach. Let's go for it." He was referring to the highest honor awarded a Christmas tree grower—presenting The First Lady with an 18 and ft. Christmas tree for The Blue Room in the White House. Only Christmas tree growers who belong to their state associations, The National Christmas Tree Association (NCTA), have won a grand champion at a state fair, and have won at the NCTA Convention are eligible for this distinct honor. Members of NCTA have placed a tree in the Blue Room since 1966. Because the 2007 winner of the White House tree was selected at NCTA's 2005 Convention, no National Tree Contest was held this year.

Instead, the 2007 NCTA Convention held in Bangor, ME added the Northeast Regional Tree Contest. We knew we would need a unique tree to win. Our choice was a bluish-green Balsam fir with rounded needles. Seth represented the family at the convention. By popular vote of the convention attendees, our tree was selected as the best. This is the 1st time that a New England tree and, more specifically, a Massachusetts tree has ever won. We were humbled, pleased, and proud that our fellow growers from across the country gave us this honor. Our prize was to represent the "Real" Christmas tree industry by presenting a 12 ft. tree to Vice President and Mrs. Cheney in Washington, D.C. Wow!

Cranston's balsam fir graces the Cheney residence
during their 2007 holiday reception.

Pam Helmsing, Executive Director of NCTA, orchestrated the whole event. She and I were in constant communication. Two events were to occur. The 1st was the delivery of the tree on Monday, November 26th; and the 2nd was a holiday reception on December 9th at the Vice President's residence.

If a tree is baled in frigid weather, there is a very real possibility that the branches may break. So, we chose Thanksgiving, a mild day to cut the tree. I was nervous. I had eaten too much Thanksgiving dinner. Would our choice be appropriate for the appointed space? I ambled up the steep slope ahead of the rest. I wanted a few moments with the tree. I touched its soft needles, smelled its Balsam aroma, and was in awe of its aesthetics in spite of a gap at 11 ft. Finally, the rest of the family arrived.

First, Seth and Jon measured 13 ft. from this 17 ft. tree-- one of 3 candidates we were grooming for the White House. Jon, our sawyer, started cutting while Seth helped ease the fall. All is well. No other trees had been damaged in this process. Next, Jon, Seth, and Tom, started dragging our prize to the baler. It weighed so much (over 200 lbs.) that Tom slipped and tumbled, laughing as he fell.

The largest baler cone was chosen to accommodate this grand specimen. The tree was hoisted up into the cone, jaws were clamped onto the trunk, the motor turned on. The tree inched forward with a groaning sound emanating from the motor. Its 9 ft. girth choked the motor. By now, the tree was half in and half out. Not good! We held our breath. The motor caught, the tree is on the move again. And then the jaws let loose, spewing fragments of bark from an inch gash created by the escaping jaw as well as a run away cable. With everything again secure, we turn the motor back on. Ever so slowly the girth is wrapped with the twine; and the process is complete. I see a cracked bottom branch with severed new growth but the rest seems intact. We had purposely cut the tree at 13 ft. to allow for slip-ups.

Hope all is well. Seth and Maryellen meet Lt. Warren Lobo at the Naval Observatory in D.C., tell him about the bottom branch, and leave the tree with him after he graciously takes them onto Vice Presidential grounds to show them the location of the alcove where the tree will reside.

Formal invitations from the Vice President's residence arrived requesting our presence at a holiday reception from 1:30 pm to 3:30 pm on December 9th. Only 4 family members are invited. Who to choose? Since the tree is 22 years old, all 5 of us (Tom, Cynthia, Seth, Jon, and Betsy) had at one time or another trimmed it. It is a difficult decision. I'm one to go. Oh, God! My hair. Maryellen A. and I plan a haircut in advance. Her parting words, "Sweep the sides forward." My clothes. L.L. Bean orders. L. L. Bean returns. I call Janice. "Can you shorten, hem, color coordinate, sew shoulder pads, and loan jewelry? In other words, can you pull me together?" What a marvelous job she did! I can bring a pocket camera which I don't own. Kit came to the rescue. Thank you ever so much.

As we were walking to One Observatory Circle located on Massachusetts Avenue, it seemed appropriate that an Ashfield, Massachusetts Christmas tree adorn the alcove inside the Vice President's residence.

A huge circus tent was attached to the home to accommodate the 500 guests who had been invited. As we entered an ante room where a harpist was playing, I peered into a side room. My eyes caught site of the tree. Oh, how magnificent! How stately! How elegant! A perfect fit  for the space! It was then I spied Vice President and Mrs. Cheney having their photos professionally taken with invited guests. As we stood in line waiting our turn, I turned to Pam Helmsing and asked, "How do you like the tree?" It was a loaded question. Her response, "Cynthia, this is the 1st Christmas tree sponsored by NCTA to be donated to the Vice President. It had to be good!"

Bursting with pride as we went forward to meet The Cheneys, we blurted out, "We grew the tree!" There was a genuine gleam and twinkle in Vice President Cheney's eyes as well as a wide grin. That image will remain with me forever. Mrs. Cheney also expressed great delight. The Vice President asked how many acres of trees we had, how old this one was, and where we lived. Then we had our photos taken with them.

After that, we entered the main arena of the tent where an orchestra played, beverages and food were served, and Santa arrived for the children in attendance.

Seth found Lt. Lobo and Liz a staff member and asked if we could have a moment with the tree alone. I heard Liz say, "Come on , Cranstons" as she and Warren led us back to the tree. I SAW the tree with live flowers and pine cones nestled in and among its branches with large glass balls and small clear lights complementing the exquisite decorations. I touched its branches, smelled its Balsam aroma, and said, "Good-bye." What an experience!

Back at the hotel, we bid Pam farewell.

Our thoughts turn homeward. We had left Maryellen C., Betsy, Carrie, Alan, Nancy, Faye, and Phil to run our busiest sales weekend. To them, we owe a debt of gratitude.

Once home, we look toward the future as we gaze at our two 16-ft trees. In 3 or 4 years, we hope to be back in Washington D .C. presenting an 18 ft Christmas tree to The First Lady—the crowning achievement.

The award winning tradition continues. At the 2014 "The Big E" Christmas tree contest, our balsam fir entry placed 1st and won Grand Champion in the fir category; our white pine entry placed 1st and won Reserve Grand Champion in the pine category; and our Engelmann spruce entry placed 1st and received 2nd Grand Champion in the spruce category. We are humble and proud!

From 2010-2013, our firs have placed either 1st, 2nd, or 3rd at "The Big E" Christmas tree contest. Photos of our farm appeared in the December 2009 issue of "Food and Wine."  Also in 2009 we were state and grand champion winners at "The Big E", the largest fair in the Northeast. In 2008, we were honored to have Lt. Governor Tim Murray tour our farm as part of the Annual Rural Day in Massachusetts. In 2006, Massachusetts AG Commissioner Doug Gillespie cut the ceremonial tree at our farm to kick off the Christmas season. In 2002 and 2004, we were state and grand champion winners at "The Big E".

Choose a real Christmas tree — the environmental choice

Not only does one acre of Christmas trees provide fresh oxygen
for humanity, but this acre also provides homes for birds, wildlife,
and beneficial insects as well as a haven of open space.

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Photo credits: Betsy Cranston, Carrie Cranston, Cynthia Cranston & Maryellen Cranston

© Copyright 2005-2017 Cranston's Christmas Tree Farm. All rights reserved.
372 Baptist Corner Road Ashfield, MA 01330 (413) 628-0090

"This institution is an equal opportunity provider and employer."


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