|Christmas Trees on display|
Today, I'm delighted to share with you an interview with Ella Miles from Welford Christmas Tree farm. The farm has kindly stocked my handmade items for the last three years. My family has been getting their Christmas Tree there since the farm started in the early '90s.
1) How long have you been running Welford Christmas Tree farm? The Christmas tree business started in 1993 when Will was 17. His brother was selling turkeys so he thought trees would be a good thing to sell alongside them!
|My things for sale in the Shop|
2) Where is the Christmas Tree Farm? What is the setting? The Christmas Tree Farm is run from the family farm just outside of Welford at junction 1 of the A14. For the rest of the year it is an 800 acre arable farm but during December we sell trees from the cow shed and stables next to the farmhouse.
|Christmas Tree Farm Shop|
3) Many local people say that visiting the Christmas Tree farm is one of their Christmas traditions. How have you established such an important part in their festivities? Yes many people say to us that visiting the farm is an annual tradition that really gets them into the Christmas spirit. I think they love the fact it is a working farm and each year they visit they will see the same friendly faces and get one to one customer service that we pride ourselves on. I think choosing a tree is such an important tradition, so if they have a fantastic experience they will come back year after year. I have vivid memories of choosing our tree as a child and would love to create memories for the children that visit us.
4) What have you done this year to improve the experience for visitors? We try and make improvements every year. This year we have made a huge effort to improve parking and have created a large car park which has a one way system to avoid queueing during busy periods. So far it's working well and we've had very positive feedback. We also have Betty our wonderful donkey pulling trees in a cart back to people's cars. This weekend we have had Creaton carol singers performing which created such a lovely atmosphere.
|Ella and her daughter with the Wreath prize|
5) You have won the British Christmas Tree Growers' Association's competition to make a wreath for 10 Downing Street twice now. How important has this been to you? What are your secrets? Our Downing Street win has been fantastic. It's a great talking point for customers and I think people like saying they get their tree from the place that supplies Downing Street! We've had loads of free publicity as a result of winning. I don't really have any secrets to winning other than I like to keep the competition wreath quite plain and classic without any 'bling'.
|Ella's wreath being judged at the competition|
6) What are your future plans for the Christmas Tree farm? Our plans for the future are big! We have so many ideas but primarily want to avoid becoming too commercial, and want to retain the family-run feel as I think this is what people like about the farm. We would like every tree we sell to be home grown, as at the moment we have to order in large trees. Also we want to have a much larger shop with a place for people to sit and maybe have a coffee. We would like to run Christmas workshops from the farm such as wreath making and crafts.
7) What would you say to encourage people to buy local and handmade this Christmas? I think supporting local businesses is vital. The lovely thing I find is people come just to get a tree, but are so amazed to find all the little 'extras' that they weren't expecting, such as the piglets born last week or the free glass of mulled wine. The nice thing about a local enterprise is its individuality.
8) When are your opening hours? Our opening times are 9-5 daily till Christmas Eve and late night opening till 8pm Thursdays.