Family Trees 2

Station Road Farm Makes Christmas Tree Magic

Christmas tree farms are magical. We go to sleep on a November night, all snug in our beds, and the next morning, as if by magic, gorgeous green trees are neatly arranged, ready to be chosen and cherished, decorated and loved. But don’t try to sell the people at West Chester’s Station Road Farm on all this wonder talk: they know firsthand how much work goes into making magic happen.

Station Road Farm is a locally-owned family business in the business of bringing families together. In 1968, Otto Binder bought a sprawling, 87-acre plot of land to keep himself and his wife Esther busy during his retirement years. Originally, the Binders grew tomatoes, but it wasn’t long until they were growing corn, peppers, green beans and other vegetables; they even raised cattle for a time. After decades of growth, Otto’s son Steve and his wife Linda have been working the land at Station Road Farm. Naturally, Steve enlisted his family to help. There are three third-generation children working on the farm: Stephanie, Mike and Elizabeth. They work together coordinating the Christmas tree operations, among many other responsibilities.

Changing over from fall to winter is so different from their normal operations that Station Road Farm closes for a few days to complete the process. Through Halloween, they sell hundreds of pumpkins in their rustic outdoor store, from the smallest Cinderella to the largest “Big Mac.” The pumpkins get smuggled out to make way for the trees to arrive. Shipping out the pumpkins is a chore in its own right, but it’s nothing compared to getting the Christmas trees ready.

The work begins on an early November morning. The family and a team of elves gather at dawn to prep the land for the trees. This means using a powerful tractor to erect metal fence posts used for keeping the trees upright on the large, gravel lot. When the fresh-cut specimens arrive, the team arranges them in rows, allowing plenty of room for customers to inspect all angles of each individual tree. At the end of the day, they’ve only just begun; it takes several rounds of this process before all 400-500 future Christmas trees are in the ground. It isn’t magic, but all the backbreaking work is worth it for what comes next.

Station Road Farm re-opens for business as a veritable winter wonderland, packed with trees of every stripe. They offer several sizes of trees, from small table-toppers to those so tall you’ll need a ladder to crown it with a star. They also have a variety of species of trees to choose from: long-needled white pines, classic Fraser firs and others stand shoulder-to-shoulder, eagerly anticipating the moment they’re taken home.

Once you’ve found the perfect tree, the Station Road Farm crew readies it for your home. They take it to one of their on-site greenhouses and give it a second fresh cut. This cut helps with water absorption so your tree looks healthy all the way through the New Year. Then, your tree is netted for safe travels and loaded into (or onto) your vehicle. For those who love the tree but hate the clean up, you can buy a bag that you keep in your tree stand. Lift your bag to the top of your tree and—voila!—you’ve spared yourself from battling a piney mess.

You’ll find more than trees at Station Road Farm. You can have a wreath custom-made for your front door or pick up a charming set of ornaments. You’ll also find Christmas treasures to hang on your mantel and garland roping to add a festive accent to your home. Most importantly, Station Road Farm offers something you can’t buy in any store—a complete family experience. During the day, children can run in the open field or climb on the large playground while their parents shop in the farmer’s market. At night, the entire family can gather around a fire pit, sip hot cocoa, and make s’mores. No matter the time of day or night, this is a place where traditions and memories are born.

Station Road Farm offers something you can’t buy in any store—a complete family experience.

Come for the Christmas trees and stay for the connection at this West Chester original. The Binder family at Station Road Farm works hard to make your holiday magical.