The Christmas Trees of Your Dreams in Franklin
Jamie Reid Faircloth and his wife, Laura, call themselves ‘pantsers' -- people who fly by the seat of their pants. The couple spent their first years of marriage moving whenever the mood struck, but 10 years, two kids, and eight addresses later, they found themselves craving a more permanent place to land. “All our moves over the years left a longing in our hearts for roots,” Laura wrote in her story of their lives together on the couple’s website. “That's when we decided it was time to get serious about our dream.”
Some would say their dream was unusual; Jamie and Laura wanted to start a Christmas tree farm. In 2015, they bought 24 acres of bucolic pasture land just outside Franklin, proclaimed it to be the Pinewood Christmas Tree Farm, and put down roots -- literally -- by planting hundreds of pine trees. Unfortunately, things didn’t go exactly as planned. “We planted 500 trees and then it didn’t rain for a month and a half, so we watched them all die,” Jamie said ruefully. “But that didn’t deter us.”
The Faircloths planted again the next spring. By the summer of 2019, nearly two thousand pine trees were thriving on their property. Then another drought came late in the season and claimed hundreds more saplings. “Now we have 1,263 trees,” Laura said. “I counted. I’m an accountant, so that’s what I do.”
Despite these setbacks, the Faircloths remain committed to their vision. They plan to keep planting until all their hillsides are covered in Christmas trees. Meanwhile, the young trees that survived the drought are growing fast and strong. The oldest among them are currently about three feet tall; Jamie and Laura hope that in just two more seasons, they’ll be ready for families to take home and decorate for Christmas.
To prepare for that long-awaited day, the Faircloths are now selling pre-cut Frasier firs on their farm in the weeks leading up to Christmas. They’re also making sure a visit to the Pinewood Christmas Tree Farm is about much more than simply buying a tree -- They’ve created a holiday farm experience that includes hayrides, hot chocolate, outdoor games, a s’mores fire pit, Instagram-worthy backdrops for family photos, and visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus. And if you’re wondering how much all this costs, you’ll definitely like Jamie’s answer: “Everything’s free,” he told me. “The only things we’re selling are the trees and some gift shop items.”
“We just want people to come out,” Laura added. “We don’t care if they buy the tree. We just want them to come have fun on the farm.”
Jamie and Laura have big plans for their Christmas tree farm in the coming years. Once their trees are tall enough, visitors to the farm will be able to choose from herbicide-free White Pine, Virginia Pine, Blue Spruce, and Murray Cypress trees, and they can cut the trees down themselves. The Faircloths will also continue offering pre-cut Frasier firs, hauled in from a farm in East Tennessee. They’re eager to start construction on a barn that can be used as an event space and Jamie hopes to add an alpine slide and a zipline, while Laura wants to open an on-site bakery/coffee shop. If all goes well, this labor of love will be so successful that they can eventually leave their current full-time jobs behind.
In the meantime, having the courage to pursue a dream the couple has talked about for nearly 20 years offers rewards that go far beyond money in the bank. The two former urbanites are flourishing on their farm -- Laura has begun making jam from the wild blackberries that grow on their property and it’s already gaining a reputation. And Jamie says some of his happiest times now come at sunset, after a long day of mowing. “Standing there watching the sun go down and seeing all my little trees growing is worth the hard work,” he said. “It’s humbling because you’re depending on God and nature to make it happen.”
Want to visit Pinewood Christmas Tree Farm this holiday season and meet the Faircloths? Visit their website for hours, Christmas tree prices, and directions.