My name is Howard Farmer (on the right of the photo) and together with my colleague Steve Bubb we took over the selling of Christmas trees on the site in Broome in 1991. At that time I was growing fruit for Pick-your-own in Romsley near the Clent hills, and on the site in Broome. Steve was a landscape gardener who enjoyed the challenge of doing something different over the Christmas period.
In the early days few trees were being grown specifically as Christmas trees and we were selling a very poor mix of Norway Spruce and Lodge Pole Pines.
It did not take us long to lead the trend and start to obtain better quality trees that were being grown specifically for Christmas.
It was in these very early days that we began our association with the Copmann family from Arhus in Jutland, Denmark on a small family farm near the forest they were well established growing mainly Nordmann fir for the German tree market. They were amongst the first to travel to Russia to get seed stocks from the Caucasus Mountains. The attention to detail and their refusal to compromise on quality has made our collaboration endure now into the 3rd generation of their family.
I stopped growing fruit in 2000 and moved to Cornwall where I have converted a number of farm buildings into holiday cottages. From there, I also run a business making Christmas tree dowelling machines. I return to the midlands every November.
I grow my own trees on my farm in Cornwall; others come from various growers in and around the West Midlands.
Over the years we have gathered a good sales team around us; every year we drag Bob out of retirement as a gentlemen’s outfitter, he continues to quietly match customers with the right tree. Tony has been with us for many years and is always remembered with affection. He always has a tale to tell and loves a chat. Ron has spent most of his life farming, from Pottery Farm Halesowen, we supplied him with the Christmas trees he sold until he sold up and retired in 2010. He misses Christmas trees and the customers so much we have had to agree to have him help us.
We usually have to find a few under 50s now to do some of the harder work!!