If you’re looking to trade in your artificial Christmas tree or just wanting a more authentic Christmas tree experience, A&W Christmas Tree Farm in the Forts Lake community might be the place for you. Austin and Wanda Clark will open their farm, located at 13001 Forts Lake Road in Moss Point, at 1:30 p.m. today. “We sell Virginia pines, the old-fashioned kind, and we tried to plant them in random places, rather than rows,” Wanda Clark said. “We’re more about the natural shape, too.”
They trim the trees two or three times during the year, but they don’t severely trim them into cone shapes. “They are a lot more natural, kind of like when you went out in the woods with grandpa to cut your tree,” she said. “We give you a small hand saw, and you and the kids can get down there and take turns trying with the saw, and if you can’t do it, we will help you.”
Clark said she and her husband built the entire Christmas tree farm around the idea of the family experience. “We have a train ride with a hayride, and we let them feed our fish in one of our three ponds, and we have an old broken-down dump truck that we converted to a slide for the kids,” Clark said. “And my husband just restored an old buggy that makes beautiful pictures.”
Most of that “family experience” comes free of charge. “All we charge for are the Christmas trees and the train rides,” she said. “Even the fish food is free.”
The Christmas tree farm is listed as a Mississippi agri-tourism site, and the Clarks are members of the Southern Christmas Tree Association, which has taught the couple a lot about their business.
“We still have stuck to the Virginia pine, which is not a real popular one to do these days,” Wanda Clark said. “Most other farms do a variety of the Leyland cypress, but we wanted to stick to the old-fashioned choice.” The experience offered at a tree farm is like no other, she said.
“There is nothing like being on a real Christmas tree farm,” she said. “You can smell the trees, you cut it down on your own, and the kids get to run around. Children and adults love it. We’re all about family fun and the old-fashioned tradition of going out and cutting the Christmas tree down.” It takes about 8 years for the trees to reach selling size, she said. The largest trees on the small farm, which has up to about 3,000 trees, is 12 or 13 feet. “And there aren’t too many that size,” she said.
Clark said the farm has become especially popular with photographers seeking a natural environment for photo sessions.
The A&W farm will also host a professional photographer and Santa on the farm Dec. 1 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.