The busiest time of year is coming up for Forsyth County’s Farm Family of the Year.
Dennis and Sandra Bottoms, who operate Bottoms Christmas Tree Farm on John Burruss Road, were recently selected as Forsyth County Farm Family of the Year by the Upper Chattahoochee River Soil and Water Conservation District.
“[The farm is] a little over 50 acres,” said Dennis Bottoms. “We have a few commercial beef cows — about 24 at the time. This year we had about an acre-and-a-half of produce for the local market, and we do Christmas Trees. We have about 6,000-8,000 at any given time on the place growing.”
Bottoms described the farm as a “choose and cut Christmas tree farm,” and each year the farm is open to families to get a tree, along with activities like seeing animals, hay rides and a fire for marshmallows.
The farm is co-owned by Bottoms and his sons Nathan and Matthew.
Daughters Sallie Power and Mary Garner are involved on the farm around Christmas, which is a busy time for the farm.
“It’s a neat thing,” Bottoms said. “The kids grew up participating and still participate, and it’s kind of a family effort.”
Bottoms said he grew up on a farm before moving for college.
After becoming an attorney, where he worked with Boling Rice LLC for about 30 years, Bottoms said he always hoped to own a farm.
“One of my goals … was to buy some property,” he said. “I enjoyed practicing law, but ultimately my goal was to have a farm.”
The family bought the farm in 1993 and decided to grow Christmas trees instead of produce or livestock.
“Farms in this part of the country are different than they are in other parts of the country,” Bottoms said. “Most of your farms are fairly compact; 50 acres is not a big farm by farming standards across the country. A lot of farms do poultry and other things. We decided to go a different route. We decided to try to grow the Christmas trees, and it’s been a nice little niche for us.”
When asked why Christmas trees, Bottoms said he had experience with them from his youth.
“I actually grew Christmas trees as a kid. When I was in high school and college we had Christmas trees that I would prune and cut and sell,” he said. “The trees require a lot of maintenance, it’s a year-round project, but you’re not as tied down as you are, say, with poultry.”
Compared to some of the sounds and smells from other farms, Bottoms said his doesn’t have an impact on the community.
“The trees are pretty quiet, they don’t disturb anybody, they’re pretty to look at and they just add to the community,” Bottoms said. “It’s been a nice project. The kids … enjoy it, and now the grandkids enjoy coming out and helping.”