Closure of the Trempealeau family farm before Christmas, family full of hope for the future

TREMPEALEAU, Wis. (WKBT) — For many families, cutting down their own Christmas tree is a tradition. If it’s yours, you may see fewer options. Lamke Tree Farm, a family business in Trempealeau, is closing in anticipation of the season.

“This would be our 58th year of operation,” said Paul Lamke, a second-generation arborist. “Every year that I can remember I’ve been here. It was really wonderful.

Among the Lamkes, it is also a tradition to welcome families to their farm.

“Dad bought the property in the late 1950s – it was very cheap land then – and he had a vision to start a tree farm,” Lamke said.

A family business – now in its third generation. Emma Usgaard, Lamke’s daughter, looks back fondly on every festive season and planting season.

“Cousins, aunts, uncles, my sister and my parents. Grandfather, even grandmother sometimes. It’s sad now that we don’t have Grandpa here anymore – he was really an integral part of the tree farm. It started a long time ago,” Usgaard said.

Thanksgiving weekend is usually busy. But not this year.

“Typically we have about 1,000 that could be cut,” Lamke said. “When we’re planting, drought conditions or drought at just the wrong time of year caused a lot of numbers to drop.”

Lamke says this holiday season, their doors are closed.

“We have limited our sales,” Lamke said. “We don’t have the numbers and we are behind the power curve.”

The low offer is something he and his daughter Emma have been saying for a long time.

Last year, the farm was only open one weekend.

“Honestly, over the past two years, I’m sure people who have been here have noticed – we’re quite short of tall Christmas trees,” Usgaard said.

This does not mean that the farm will close permanently.

“We look forward, in a season or two, to being fully open again,” Lamke said.

Focusing on growth, hoping to keep the tradition alive for years to come.

Lamke said there are around 8,000 trees growing on the farm – and trees can take between 8 and 12 years to reach the perfect Christmas tree height.

The family said many trees should be ready for families in two or three years.


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