The proprieters of Emmerich Tree Farm are Kurt and Karen Emmerich. Kurt grew up on the land, having planted thousands of trees on the property with his parents and siblings in the 60’s and 70’s. The Scotch pines around the ponds and the Norway and White spruce around the property were planted by the family with trees from the NYSDEC’s Saratoga nursery. During this time Kurt and his brother Chris (Emmerich Greenhouses) also helped their father Lee gathering and selling Christmas Trees from their 70-acre property in Chenango County, NY known as “Christmas Hill” which was planted extensively with White Spruce.
Kurt attended college at the NYS College of Environmental Science and Foresty, graduating in 1978 with an Engineering degree. At ES&F Kurt broadened his tree knowledge, and began to think of raising trees on the family property in Warwick. In the early 1980’s Kurt and Chris planted several hundred Blue spruce on the Warwick property, but did not have the time and resources to properly care for them as they grew…nevertheless, this planting yielded many nice Christmas trees for family and friends; including several that graced Kurt and Karen’s 16-ft tall great room in their home on Foley Road in Warwick.
Kurt and Karen purchased the property from Kurt’s family in 2005 and built a new house just North of what is now the main Christmas Tree Field. In 2007 they cleared the back 8 acres and planted 5,000 trees, mostly spruce. The initial planting was spruce, since Kurt had good experience growing and selling this species. At the same time, we planted several thousand firs in irrigated beds, readying them for transplant to an expansion area. In 2011, we built a pavilion for our niece’s wedding and for use during the Christmas Season and we also expanded the growing space: opening up more north-facing property for firs and expanding the beds. In spring 2012 the first expansion area was planted with transplanted firs, sustained with drip irrigation. We planted the back side of our dam in 2015, and completed expansion in 2019. We now have just under 10,000 tree spaces, and approximately 12,000 spaces in our beds to develop younger trees.
In 2016 we started hosting weddings for a fee. This has diversified our farm and given us an important revenue source to help keep the farm viable. We are continually struck by how supportive our customers are, and how they “get it” that diversification is essential to sustaining agriculture.
Growing trees requires patience and planning to ensure that we have a robust crop for our customers each "cutting" season. Kurt has developed a unique tree turnover program which allows the farm to maximize output with limited growing space. With all farm expansion plans completed, the focus is now on improving the tree crop each year.
With Kurt retiring from his career in 2020, he has been able to put more attention into the trees to make sure the farm is producing healthy vibrant trees each year. A new deer fence is scheduled for completion in 2024, which is part of a larger program to limit crop damage and improve growth of key species that are often targeted by the deer.
As trained Environmental professionals, Kurt and Karen were early adopters of the NYS "Grown and Certified" program. In fact, We were the first farm in New York State to be certified by the program...in November of 2017. The Grown and Certified program establishes a host of environmental and farm management criterion that are designed to assure that good environmental practices are integrated into the growing practices of active farms. We continually work on reducing the use of herbicide, practicing integrated pest management and exploring more environmentally-friendly alternatives to traditional Christmas Tree Farming techniques for both worker safety and Environmental sustainability.