Clemsonville Christmas Tree Farm

Frederick News Post Article

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Christmas tree farmer continues with tradition
Originally published November 29, 2009

Adam Behsudi
News-Post Staff


UNION BRIDGE -- Enter Michael Ryan's barn and you'll see Santa asleep in the corner, a chimney St. Nick used to come down before he fell into a snooze and a record of what had been the world's largest wreath.

What you won't find is a shred of bah humbug to ruin the quintessential Christmas mood of Ryan's tree farm on Clemsonville Road.

On Saturday, Ryan with the help of his sons and grandchildren handed out saws for Christmas tree-hunting families. They also hosted their largest group of visitors each season.

Ryan said the tree business is competitive these days -- a contrast to the boom times of the past.

"People would line up on the roads to get in a tree farm in the '70s and early '80s," he said.

Ryan said more people are choosing natural trees. He got steady business Saturday and a visit from one of his most loyal customers.

Gaithersburg resident Jim Lucey brought his usual group of more than 35 people -- a tradition that's been ongoing for about 30 years.

"The prices are pretty good," he said. "You can't beat $20 for a tree."

Lucey found out about Ryan's tree farm from a flier he picked up at a grocery store 33 years ago, and he's been coming ever since.

"We make it a big yearly event," he said.

Ryan bought the 230-acre farm in 1965 and has been selling trees since 1967. He lives in the late 1700s house built by the original landowner, John Clemson.

No longer the Guinness record holder for the world's largest wreath, Ryan said the category now allows floral arrangements. He said the reclassification knocked his 116-foot-diameter wreath of evergreen boughs out of the running in the late 1980s.

He does claim to have the largest real Christmas wreath with a limestone tree as its centerpiece.

"You can see how no one can reproduce that," he said.



Christmas tree farmer continues with tradition

Photo by Graham Cullen
Clemsonville Christmas Tree Farm owner Michael Ryan talks with guests Saturday as he hosts a large group from out of town.


Christmas tree farmer continues with tradition

Photo by Graham Cullen
Family and friends of Jim Lucey, shown here around a giant Christmas wreath and stone tree, have come to the Clemsonville Christmas Tree Farm to harvest a tree for 33 years. This year, some traveled from as far away as Atlanta and Boston.

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