PAUL AND JANET MARTIN – DENMAR FARMS
217 Clearview Road, Belleville
Would it be terribly cliched to say that the holidays are the most wonderful time of the year at Denmar Farms? Possibly, but it is the reason Janet and Paul Martin started the Christmas tree farm in the first place.
The holiday season is abundant with traditions, and the Martin family has made cutting your own Christmas tree a treasured one in the Quinte area since they opened in 2006.
What started as a family tradition of cutting trees with Janet and Paul’s own kids 29 years ago grew over time—much like the balsam and fraser firs and blue spruces that grow on their farm in the rural part of Belleville—into the idea for their business.
Paul had anticipated the farm being a retirement project, but with growing support from the community, fellow tree growers and organizations like the Canadian Christmas Tree Growers Association, it’s developed into a year-round project for the Martins. From April through to Christmas, work on the farm is full-time and includes planting, weeding, pruning and removing cones—by hand—from each of the 42,000 or so trees.
The trees, which take about seven or eight years to grow to a holiday-ready eight foot height, cover 45 acres; this leaves visitors with plenty of choice as they search the verdant property for their perfect tree. The entire farm experience is a festive one, with Christmas music piped outside the large gabled barn, toasty warm bonfires, and local sweet treats as well as wreaths, urns and other holiday decor available in the retail section.
Even though their so-called retirement project turned into a full-time job, Paul says they wouldn’t have it any other way. “I love the outdoors, and we all love Christmas … visitors often refer to the farm as ‘our farm.’ People love coming here.”