MOLINE, Ill. — Wyffels Tree Farm in Moline has been a local Christmas tree supplier for over two decades. The farm opened for the 2021 season on Friday, Nov. 26 and many families stopped by to pick out a tree.
"We got swamped early this morning because a lot of people want to get them early," owner Rick Wyffels said.
While there's talk nationwide of a Christmas tree shortage due to severe weather and supply chain disruption, Wyffels said that's not a problem for them this year. They've been lucky to avoid the drought this year.
"They're really fresh because of all the rain, and the recent rain really helped," Wyffels said.
Cutting down a tree at Wyffels has become a tradition for some of the families there Friday.
The Parks family have been coming for the last three years. The seven-year-old, six-year-old and 18-month old brothers all running around trying to find the perfect tree.
"Now having my own family, it's been good to bring the kids out here, and they enjoy it. And, I mean, they just want to play," Kyle Parks said.
They like to get their tree early so they can decorate it and enjoy it for longer, Parks said.
"I think the real tree, you know smells and looks, there's something special about that," Parks said. "I think it's fun for the kids as they're younger to kind of have a tradition like this."
Next year, baby #4 will be joining the tradition as well.
The Patterson family have also been coming to Wyffels Tree Farm for the last three years.
"We've actually really enjoyed coming out here. They have really good trees, they last long and we really like the quality of the tree," Nicole Patterson said. "It's just the family time you get to spend together."
In past years, she said it's sometimes taken them two hours to find a tree that they like, but this year they ended up buying the first one they saw.
"Generally we look for like the roundness of the tree where that's gonna go on the back, what's gonna go on the front," she said. "And then strong branches because we do hang ornaments on there. The kids pick out ornaments every year."
This year the Patterson kids, Michael Jr., 11, and Nicholas, 9, were able to help saw the tree.
"The older they get, the more they get to participate in cutting down the tree," Nicole Patterson said. "So we kind of teach them some responsibility and what goes into it."
Wyffels said he enjoys watching the families look for their trees.
"Best part about growing trees altogether is when we sells trees, because the families come in with all their kids," he said. "Little kids have a nice little grin on their face. They come in and help them drag the tree, and if they're old enough the dad'll let them use the handsaw, give them a chance to try and cut their own tree, and they enjoy dragging it back to the barn."
Wyffels Tree Farm is open weekends 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and weekdays 4-6 p.m. at 3319 N. Shore Dr. in Moline.
Wyffels said he hopes to be open for two weekends this year, but they're only open while supplies last. It takes nine years to grow a six-foot tree, so if too many of the small ones start to get cut down, they have to close so they'll have enough to sell next year.