Potts Creek Tree Farm opens for the season

By Jeffrey Kanode, RealWV

Cradled by the mountains surrounding Waiteville, in Monroe County, near Paint Bank and the Virginia state line, the Potts Creek Tree Farm just opened for this Christmas season.  The Christmas trees are green, healthy and plentiful throughout the hillsides and meadows just off of Route 17.

Amy and Bobby Dunbar came with their family to pick out a Christmas tree. “We have always gotten our Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving. It’s tradition, it goes back to when I was a child,” Amy explained. “For years we would go up to the Knobbs, but that place closed.  Now that this tree farm has opened, we are starting a new tradition.”

That tradition includes decorating the chosen tree with their three grandchildren, Lincoln, Karston, and Ike. “It’s so much fun, picking out the tree, then decorating it with the kids. There’s just something about a live Christmas tree—the smell, the beauty,” Amy noted.

Darla Miller co-owns the Potts Creek Tree Farm with Derick Proctor, a retired attorney from Florida.  For a decade, Proctor raised Christmas trees as a hobby. When their business partnership began, Miller and Proctor sold those trees wholesale for a time, but Miller envisioned something different for the tree farm. “My vision was, ‘Let’s do Hallmark. Let’s do something for the public. Let’s do something for the community to be a part of and enjoy.’ Derick planted the trees. I wanted to open the farm to people and families to come out and pick out their special tree,” Miller said.

2023 marks the second year the tree farm has been open to the public.  Ean Baker returned this year after having worked at Pott’s Creek last year, too. He said that he had helped sell and move approximately fifty-one trees by around three o’clock on opening day, the Friday after Thanksgiving. Baker works in a small engine shop in the summer, and though he likes that work, he always looks forward to his stint on the Potts Creek Tree Farm. “I’m glad I get to help people find their Christmas trees,” he said. “That’s a lot of fun.”

 Miller noted that Ean Baker plays a critical role in the work of the tree farm. “Every year, he fertilizes each of our trees by hand.  Ean’s a great kid. He is an important part of our operation on an off season.”

In addition to Christmas trees, Potts Creek also features a general store filled with Christmas wreaths, bouquets, and other unique Christmas gift items. This weekend and next, they will be open from 9:00 to 4:30 p.m., and 12:00-4:30 p.m. on Sunday.

By the end of opening weekend, the Potts Creek Tree Farm had sold 150 trees.  Christmas trees, holiday floral arrangements, and Christmas gifts weren’t the only focus of those days, however. The Monroe County Animal League brought dogs who need good, loving homes for people to adopt, and the Lindside Fire Department also came out with special volunteer fireman Santa Claus, who greeted both children and adults, alike. 

Darla Miller walked away from the opening weekend of her tree farm feeling fulfilled, and grateful. “When I had a vision of what this farm would be, it happened this weekend,” she reflected. “Families were meeting to cut trees and take pictures.  It was the type of magic I envisioned.”

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