MERIDEN — Kogut’s Hemlock Hill Tree Farm is open for the holiday season and ready with hundreds of fresh-cut Christmas trees.
This is the family-owned farm’s third year at 304 Parker Ave., after moving from a 90-acre farm in Somers after 35 years.
“We love it. We didn’t know what we were going to do when we lost that farm (in Somers),” farm owner Kathy Kogut said. Every year at the new location has gotten better and better, she said.
Kogut’s Tree Farm offers balsam, fraser and canaan trees for about $30. It also sells “kid trees” and other smaller ones for $5-10.
All the trees are pre-cut, often only hours earlier from the family’s wholesale farm in Enfield. The Koguts hope to have a “choose and cut” option next year.
Their five acres in Meriden is much more manageable for owners Bill and Kathy Kogut, who reside in a home attached to the land. “We’re getting older and we needed to scale back,” Kogut said.
The family’s love for the Christmas tree business is deep. Farm owner Bill Kogut was born into a family of Christmas tree farmers and has been selling for the last 51 years. Now their children and grandchildren are just as involved.
“We love it. We just love it… It’s been in our blood for too many years, we can’t give it up,” Kathy Kogut said. “We’re so happy to be able to do what we do. We love the way it looks at night, it looks like a little Hallmark picture card.”
“It’s Christmas time, everybody’s happy, we get stuff for the kids — free hot chocolate, free coloring books, lollipops, candy canes, little picture opportunities,” Kathy Kogut said.
Kogut’s farm still has a large following, despite the move south.
“I’d say about 30 percent of our customers from Somers come here and maybe another 10 percent from Massachusetts. They’ve been faithful followers,” Kathy Kogut said.
BJ Kogut, the owner’s son, said “it’s amazing because we get to see the same people every year.” He said he can’t seem to remember his own wife’s birthday, but can remember what tree people bought the year before.
All Kogut family members and some friends are involved in the farm. Extended family will come and help because they can, BJ Kogut said.
“It looks like chaos but it’s actually pretty organized. We all have a job, we all know what to do,” BJ Kogut said. “It’s crazy, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. That’s December, that’s what December always is.”
The farm is open Monday through Wednesday from 12 to 5 p.m., Thursday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. It plans to stay open through the Friday before Christmas, Dec. 23.