CHRISTMAS TREE FARMER - Profile
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Bruce Niedermeier, Christmas tree farmer
Grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Eagle Boy Scout
Active in 4-H
Worked in a corporate job for four years and then bought a tree farm from his father, who had begun tree farming as a postretirement project.
WHAT'S A NORMAL DAY LIKE FOR YOU?
This is a really great job! I left the corporate world to do this. It's especially fun because it has an annual cycle. There's so much to do, but I have winters off. Plus, part of my farm is dedicated to “choose and cut"—this is the really good part. I get to meet every customer. Often, we end up having great conversations, and I meet interesting people whom I never would have otherwise encountered.
HOW DO CHRISTMAS TREES GET SO PERFECT LOOKING?
We shape the trees with knives. Normally, most trees grow a lot on the top and bottom, and the sides have no growth. We bring the top down to a set height, and this determines how dense or loose the tree is. From here, we use knives to shape the trees like cones. Consumers like perfect trees.
ANY ADVICE FOR PEOPLE WHO WANT TO OPEN A CHRISTMAS TREE FARM?
I think people have to get in touch with themselves to know what makes them happy, even if it's not what friends and family say. Tree growers are the nicest people I've ever worked with, so very nice and giving.