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CHRISTMAS RAFFLES

Raffle Basket 2016 WebThe Floating Bridge Food & Farm Co-Op holds two raffles near Christmas time each year. One raffle is held at the Co Op Holiday Market in Randolph Center and the other is at the LH Stowell & Son Christmas Tree Farm on Twin Pond Road in Brookfield. The prize at the tree farm was a beautiful holiday wicker basket consisting of a pint of VT Grade A Golden Delicate Taste Maple Syrup from Spotted Dog Farm in Brookfield, a pint of Original Caramel from Fat Toad Farm in Brookfield, a bar of Almond Chocolate Mousse Vermont Goat’s Milk Soap and a jar of pure Vermont Honey from Brookfield Bees, Localvore Mary (a jar of heirloom tomato Bloody Mary Mix) and a $15.00 Gift Certificate from the Green Mountain Girl’s Farm in Northfield and a large bag of Potpourri.

 

LH STOWELL CHRISTMAS TREE FARM RAFFLE WINNER

Ruth Snow of Northfield was notified on December 24 that she was the lucky winner of the LH Stowell & Son drawing. Lew delivered the prize basket to her on Monday December 26, 2016.  In addition to winning the basket of local foods Ruth was enjoying the seven foot Balsam Fir she purchased from the tree farm.

DO YOU STILL NEED A CHRISTMAS TREE OR A WREATH?

Today, Friday, December 23rd will be last day we are open for tree sales this year!  Please call us, at 802-276-3382, if you plan to come.  We want to provide you the same quality of service on our last day as on the other days.  We still have plenty of trees growing in the fields for you to choose from.  The trees have a light coat of snow making them even more beautiful than usual.  We have a few fresh cut table tops, full size trees and wreaths left.  We hope to sell all of them today.  The roads were plowed this morning.  The snow yesterday should make traveling on the ice in the field paths easier but some caution would be prudent.  The weather forecast for today is mostly sunny, light winds, and mid to upper thirties.  The barn will be warm and the trains waiting for you to ask “Can we see and hear them run?”

AFTER-SEASON CLEAN UP ON FRIDAY AFTERNOON

After lunch when there are no more customers, we will clean up and put away for the year all of our sales equipment such as the tree balers, signs, tree racks, etc.  It has been my observation over the many years that we have been doing choose and cut that it may take the crew a while to get things set up at the beginning of the season or each day we are open but when closing time arrives, they are incredibly efficient and expeditious in putting things away.  I expect nothing less from them on this Friday so please don’t come out this afternoon unannounced and expect us to be open for business.  I do not know exactly when we will close.  It will depend upon our customers but I doubt that it will be much later than 2:00 PM.

We all wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

 

 

SUNDAY MORNING UPDATE

The Town Road Foreman, Ray Peck, was up with truck #2 sanding a few minutes ago and noted that the road was a bit slushy so when they get the sander repaired on Truck #3, he will have him plow and sand the road again.  I just drove up to the intersection with East street to put the "OPEN" flag out and I didn't have any trouble but I kept it well under 100 MPH.  If I had a choice of cars to bring today, I would leave the two wheel drive with bald tires at home and opt for the AWD, 4WD, or other vehicle with good tires and traction.  We are here waiting until 4:00 PM to help you find your perfect tree.  Why do I call it "your perfect tree"?  Because everybody has a different version of what the "perfect" one is but we have such a good selection that you will find it here.  See you soon!

FRIDAY MORNING UP DATE

The thermometer needle is creeping up and the sun is bright.  We are open for business.  Dress extra warm and you can find your perfect tree here today.  If you want a wreath, give us a call.  We may have to order it made as we keep a low inventory this part of the season but we have plenty of trees left.

 

Cold Morning 12 11 16CHRISTMAS IS COMING SOON:

How time flies! The last full weekend before Christmas is coming up. It is forecast to be typical old style December weather but you are hardy Vermonters and a little wind and cold temperatures won’t stop you from coming out and finding your perfect tree. Right? Right!

BALSAM FIR AND FRASER FIR:

We still have a great selection of trees to include Fraser and Balsam Fir. We have all sizes from table tops to 16+ foot Balsam and Fraser. If you don’t want to brave the cold for too long, try our fresh cut trees. They have been very popular this year so they have not been cut long because we only cut a few at a time. The fresh cut trees come from blocks of trees that we want to clear out and replant.

YOU CHOOSE AND WE CUT:

“You mean I don’t have to get down in the cold wet snow and cut the tree?” Our tree farm workers are dressed for this and have a lot of experience doing it. If you have a family member who wants to do part of the cutting, mention it to the tree farm worker who is assisting you. They will start the cut and help your family member cut at least part of the tree without hurting either the family member or themselves. No! We don’t use chain saws except for the really big trees and then we do all of the cutting.

Wreaths for WebA FEW WREATHS LEFT:

  This is the time we watch our inventory of wreaths closely.  We only have a few left.  But if you want to be sure we have what you want, give us a call at 802-276-3382 and special order what you would like a day or two before you plan to come.  We can have it or them made fresh for you, either decorated or undecorated in one of our five sizes.  We also have Kissing Balls if you order ahead.

 

HOT FOOD:

There is no organized bake sale this weekend but we will have hot beverages and some hot food available Saturday and Sunday by donation. The barn will be nice and warm. We have booths and chairs near the wood furnace so you can warm up comfortably while you sip or munch.

Make Your OwnMAKE YOUR OWN DECORATIONS:

We have 50 pound bundles of Fraser Fir greens available for only $18.50 plus tax. How many decorations can you make with one bundle? It depends upon what you are making but our wholesale wreath maker customers tell us that they can make 5 or 6 fancy wreaths with one bundle. You can make other decorations such as swags, garlands, table top center pieces, window box decorations, etc.

 

Staff Carry WebGREAT STAFF:

Our hardy and friendly staff are looking forward to helping you by cutting, transporting and netting your tree. They will even assist you in putting your tree in or on your vehicle if you request it. Please help them by having appropriate ratchet straps, bungees, good rope, etc. with you. If you are going any distance ask for a tree bag to protect your tree from the wind caused by driving your vehicle at highway speeds. 

 

AT Trains 6WebCHOO CHOOS:

We will have the electric trains all warmed up for your viewing and listening pleasure. We only have two loops so only two trains can operate at any one time. During the day we probably will not have time to switch trains from a siding to a main line but between the main lines and the sidings we have 5 different trains, one diesel and four steam for you to look at and see two of them operate.

Remember last year at this time how you were lamenting how warm, snow-less and “un-Vermont the weather was?  How many of you were wishing there was a more “Christmassy” atmosphere?  How you wanted a “good old fashioned Vermont Christmas?  Well, guess what?  You got your wish!  The weather this weekend is forecast to be what we used to think of as “normal December in Vermont” weather.
 
To go along with that you need to put away the shorts, tee shirts and sandals you wore last year and break out the warm boots, multi layers, warm hats and mittens that most children fight wearing until they get really cold.  The forecast is for sunny on Saturday and partly cloudy on Sunday but lows around zero and highs in the low to mid twenties.
 
But not to worry!  If you do your part in wearing warm gear, we will do our part in having the heat in the barn on high, the bake sales with plenty of hot food and hot drinks both days and our friendly staff cutting and baling your tree as quickly as they can.  Please bring ratchet straps, bungees and strong rope of your own as our staff may be so busy they won’t be able to tie your tree down unless you wait for a lull.  Remember that you do the choosing and we do the cutting.  Please leave your saw at home.
 
The town road crew has been very helpful in putting down sand on the road this year so with the usual Vermont caution on back roads you should have no difficulty.  We expect as many as two hundred cars on the roads to and from our farm each day so be prepared for a car coming towards you at every curve and blind knoll.
 
Plan on having a wonderful time choosing the family Chrismas tree.  See you soon!

Barn D 3 16Sunday morning it is 26 degrees F at 8:00 AM with a light coating of snow on top off what we had yesterday.  We are seeing hints of sun already and we may have sunny intervals today along with the chance of snow flurries..  We had over 100  vehicles traveling to and from our farm yesterday so the town road crew  spread some sand on the road this morning about 8:45.  Drive with your usual prudent caution and you should have no difficulty.  Please dress appropriately. Sandals and tee shirts may have been OK Friday but not so much yesterday and today.  You probably don’t need an extra large breakfast this morning. 

ERFDWA 12 4 16The East Randolph Fire Department Women’s Auxiliary has arrived and is doing the Bake Sale today.  The Royalton Pre-School did a very successful the bake sale yesterday and today’s bake sale looks equally scrumptious.  You are in no danger of starving to death while searching for the perfect tree that all of your family or group can agree upon.

 

 


4 in the treesWEB AOn Wednesday November 30 Kinza Noor from Pakistan and Janne Rossmann from Germany visited the Christmas tree farm and got a short tour of the farm and then went to Wendy Goodenough’s, a neighbor and AFS supporter, house and made wreaths out of Balsam Fir and other materials along with AFS Advisor Tina O’Donnell.

 

Kinza Janne Wreaths AThe two students are attending Randolph Union High School this year.

One of the many things we do here on the farm during the Choose & Cut Christmas tree season to make this a memorable experience for customers is to have local charities and worthy causes come to our Christmas Barn to conduct a bake sale on busy weekends. We provide them space, electricity, a microwave oven and other resources and they get to keep all the proceeds for their worthy project. We make no charge to them. They provide hot food and beverages and cold baked goodies, most of them home made. If you plan to come to our farm in the next two weekends, you will find the following worthy causes staffing the bake sale in the Christmas barn. They will each be available to you from 9:00 AM to about 3:00 PM.

SATURDAY- DECEMBER 3, The Royalton Pre-School- Hot home made chili and hot home made vegetable soup, hot beverages and a delicious array of baked items such as fresh made no-bake cookies and brownies are available. As an item of interest most of the food has been prepared by the pre-schoolers themselves under supervision. The proceeds will go to playground equipment, books and school supplies. Eat well, take some home, all for a worthy cause.

SUNDAY- DECEMBER 4, The East Randolph Fire Department Women’s Auxiliary- There will be hot chocolate, coffee, and tea along with chili, Mac n Cheese, homemade soups, pies and other baked goods.  The East Randolph Fire Department Ladies Auxiliary was founded in 2009 in order to support and assist the Fire Department. The Auxiliary is comprised of firefighter wives and significant others as well as community members. Through fund raising and community events, the auxiliary strives to bring the community together and increase support to the East Randolph Fire Department. Over the past 7 years, the auxiliary has hosted many bake sales, bottle drives, coin drops and other fund raisers. With this funding we have been able to provide nourishment to the firefighters when they are responding to fire calls and are away from they families. We have also been able to host events at the department to bring the community together and recognize the amazing work our volunteer firefighters do.

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 10, The United Federated Church of Williamstown Youth Group. Hot home made food, hot beverages and a very tasty array of baked items such as whole pies and cookies to stave off starvation and warm up your inner self after your tree choosing expedition . This is the 25th consecutive year that the youth group has held a bake sale at the LH Stowell Christmas Barn. It is remarkable that a samll town church youth fellowship program has been so successful.  Some of the early youth group members have children of their own. I personally look forward to their arrival with their home made pies

SUNDAY- DECEMBER 11, The Randolph Union High School Honor Society and The Rotary Interact Program. They will have an array of hot food and beverages for your eating pleasure. Interact is a Rotary sponsored program for high school aged students. Proceeds of the bake sale support tuition payments for a young Nepali girl to attend school through Hands in Outreach. Additional funds will be channeled toward the new English Education Foundation for the rebuilding of the school in Sotang that was destroyed in the second earthquake two years ago.
Interact is partnering with the Randolph Chapter of the National Honor Society whose mission is to exemplify service to community through efforts toward Camp Ta-Kum_Ta, High School Scholarships and community outreach.

Yes! We spend months each year from late April to early November working to make the trees as nice as we can make them; planting, fertilizing, aerating, mowing, shaping, etc.  But given all that hard work, when you come out to pick out your tree it is not so much about the tree as it is about you and your family having fun being together in the quest for your perfect tree.  This really is about you having fun together!  You can look at a few and pick one quickly or you can look over each of our thousands of trees several times before you make your decision.  You can walk all over the farm (228+/- acres) if you want to.  It is up to you and your friends and your family.  You can even bring the family dog (as long as it is on a strong leash) and have a great outing regardless of whether it is sunny, cloudy, snowing or raining.  It really is all about all of you. 

Our friendly staff are eager to help you when you need it.  If things get busy and the tractor is not coming as soon as you would like, we have carts stationed at strategic spots and you can bring your tree to our balers without waiting.  We have bags to protect your tree on its way to your home, particularly if you are going a distance on a paved highway.  We have wreaths or bundles of greens (boughs) from which you can make your own decorations.  We have a warm barn where you can warm up and rest from your exertions.  We have Bake Sales on our busy Saturdays and Sundays so you can have hot food and beverages.  We have the electric trains traveling around the barn on request.  We have maple products and tree accessories. 

Despite all of that and more, it really is about you and your friends and your family having memorable time together in the fresh air on a Central Vermont hill farm.  We look forward to seeing you on one of the next three long weekends (Friday, Saturday and Sunday).

The snow has apparently not been a barrier to customers coming and having fun choosing their their perfect tree.  We had a good day yesterday and expect two good ones, today and tomorrow.  The trees have lost most of their snow load and are easier to select. The roads are bare but there could be some muddy spots so care should be used.  We have a good selection of nearly everything.  Don't forget to wear footware that likes snow and cold weather.

We have one pair of nice mittens left by a customer.  If they are yours, please stop by to claim them.

 

 

The Town of Brookfield has plowed the roads already.  If you have snow tires and drive responsibly, you should have no difficulty safely coming to and leaving from our farm today and probably all weekend but I will post updates each day as needed.  The trees all have a light coating of snow and everything has plenty of Christmas tree season spirit.  I will post a photo as soon as conditions permit.