CAPE ELIZABETH — After watching his balsam fir trees grow for seven years, Jay Cox has finally opened the Old Farm Christmas Place on Sawyer Road and will sell trees and holiday items through December.
The Old Farm Christmas Place opened to the public on Saturday, Nov. 6 and customers will be able to choose their holiday trees on Saturday, Nov. 13.
Cox said he moved back to Maine in 2001 and started planting trees on his land a few years later. Since then, he has planted about 2,500 trees per year. There will be about 1,000 trees to select this year. They start at six-feet tall and cost either $45 or $55.
“Next year there will be about 2,500 trees for sale,” Cox said. “This is the first planting.”
In addition to the tree farm, Cox built a timber framed barn and will sell custom wreaths, garland, ornaments, yarn, soaps, candles and other holiday decorations.
As a member of the Cape Farm Alliance, Cox said he worked with the Planning Board, Ordinance Committee and local farmers to make zoning ordinance changes that would support local agriculture by allowing the sale of ancillary goods in farm stores.
The Town Council approved the agricultural changes in May, making it possible for Cox to sell holiday items in conjunction with his trees.
“These changes make it possible for farmers to make money during off seasons,” he said. “This keeps farmers going.”
Changes to the agricultural portion of the zoning ordinance include updates to the town agricultural profile, more flexibility in farming regulations, agriculture-related products and uses, and the ability to incorporate non-farm items and non-local items into farm markets.
There is a new agricultural definition that includes riding stables and allows farmers to be more creative in their use of agriculture for revenue.
Changes that are helpful to Cox’s business allow up to 50 percent of items sold at a market to be non-farm related, up from 25 percent. In addition, items can be sold at farm markets from any farm in Cape Elizabeth, not just from the owner’s farm.
The Old Farm Christmas Place and Old Farm Store will be open through December and will offer wagon rides, hot cider and other refreshments. Directions and operating hours for both the store and tree farm can be found at oldfarmchristmas.com or 799-0096.
Amy Anderson can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Those who want to select their own holiday tree can visit the Old Farm Christmas Place on Sawyer Road starting Saturday, Nov. 13. Visitors can take wagon rides, make holiday wreaths and purchase holiday items through December. Owner Jay Cox, pictured here, stands near some of his more mature balsam firs. There will be about 1,000 trees available for sale this year.