RICE -- If you're like Clark Griswold your family is probably beginning to search for that perfect Christmas tree.

For 50 years the Hinkemeyer Tree Farm in Rice has been supplying that important Christmas item for families to help kickstart the holiday season.

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Co-owner Cheryl Thiele says over the years they've noticed people tend to start looking for a tree a little earlier.

We opened up this last weekend, and we were surprisingly busy. People were ready. I think with COVID the last few years, people are finding the good and joy a lot more and so it's never too early to start the Christmas season.

Thiele says about half of their customers choose to cut their own tree, while the other half opts to select one off the lot.

She says they also offer a holiday gift shop, hay wagon rides and other holiday theme events to enhance the overall experience.

Thiele says the industry as a whole is seeing a drop in supply for trees and this summer's drought didn't help their newly planted crop.

We put in a few thousand trees this past spring and they just went up in smoke because rain didn't come. But thankfully the rain did come and the more established trees were able to soak it all up and recover.

Thiele says each spring they plant roughly a few thousand trees on their 40 acre lot to make sure they keep up with demand year after year.

She says it's an incredible experience to know they've become an annual tradition for so many families.

Hinkemeyer Tree Farm will be open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.


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