By Jennifer Kotila
HOWARD LAKE, MN Howard Lake’s new tree farm, Dutch Creek, is the ideal place to find this year’s Christmas treeIn 2004, Greg and Christie Wood planted their first seedlings to start the Dutch Creek Tree Farm.
Six years later, those little baby trees are all grown up and ready to decorate homes for the holiday season.
“It has taken a lot of care, mowing and pruning, to get the trees ready for this year,” Christie said.
Dutch Creek Tree Farm is a cut your own tree farm. It is located just southeast of Howard Lake, on the east side of Dutch Lake at 6624 Hoyt Avenue SW.
The tree farm is another branch of the business this enterprising couple has been building since moving to Howard Lake from Eden Prairie in 2006.
When they built their house, the Woods also built a guest house above their garage.
The Dutch Lake Farm guest house is a contemporary bed and breakfast, which has been open for about a year-and-a-half.
Greg also has a custom furniture business, The Wood Company, which he works at full time in a shed on the property.
Greg started The Wood Company in 1991, when he bought the farm on Dutch Lake.
Christie has been creating greeting cards for about 15 years, and has a representative in New York who helps her distribute them.
These other branches of the business make the experience of going out to the Dutch Creek Tree Farm to cut a tree one-of-a-kind.
The Woods offer a certificate for a free Christmas tree as part of the package for anyone who stays at the Dutch Lake Farm guest house between September and Christmas.
The 80-acres on which the farm is situated are interlaced with trails ideal for snowshoeing and skiing, or taking a long stroll in warmer seasons.
For the two weekends the tree farm will be open this holiday season, there will be a hayride taking patrons out to the tree field to cut their trees.
There is a choice of two types of trees this year at the Dutch Creek Tree Farm: 7- to 8-foot white spruce and 6-foot white pines.
The garage below the guest house will be transformed into a holiday gift shop, featuring Greg’s furniture, Christie’s cards, spruce tip pots and wreaths, and other holiday decor.
The gift shop will also have a free hot cocoa bar to help patrons warm up before or after the hayride out to the tree field.
“We want this to be a fun, family outing to get their trees, as well as being able to do some holiday shopping,” Christie said.
Christie makes sure to keep Dutch Lake Farm’s Facebook page up to date with all the events happening locally that may entice out-of-towners to Howard Lake for the day, or a weekend.
The Dutch Creek Tree Farm will be open Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 4 - 5 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Saturday, Dec. 11 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.; and Sunday, Dec. 12 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.