By Mark Reynolds
Three years ago Mike Garone established the Garone’s Mountain Fresh Farms at 17 Baileys Gap Road in Highland after purchasing the seven acre Christmas Tree Farm from the CrimiVarole family. It has been a tree farm for more than 45 years and Mike plans to carry on the tradition, along with running his Lawn and Landscaping business from the site.
Garone provides maintenance, excavation work, installing hardscape designs that incorporate wood, stone or concrete materials as well as offering traditional landscaping services to his clients. In winter he does commercial snowplowing in the area.
Last Saturday Mike, his sister Alycia and their parents Mike and Cathy, invited Santa to light up a special Christmas Wishing Tree as part of their 2nd annual fundraiser for the Shriners Hospital in Springfield, Massachusetts. Mike explained that in 2008, when he was 17, he lost a leg just above the knee in a motocross accident and Shriners took great care of him and brought him through a difficult time in his life. Because of this he matches whatever donations he receives and sends it all directly to the hospital.
The stated mission of the Shriners Hospitals is to, “become the best at transforming children’s lives by providing exceptional healthcare through innovative research, in a patient and family-centered environment.”
Besides offering Christmas trees during the holiday season, Alycia said the farm has, “a little bit of everything,” such as wreaths, centerpieces, candles and even kissing balls. These vintage decorations are made from holly and evergreen leaves that are fashioned in ball shapes and hung from the ceiling. Today they are making a comeback and can be accented with pine cones, berries or with colorful ribbons.
“We are trying to take what used to be an awesome family run Christmas tree farm and revive it and keep it going. Alycia said.
Alycia said because they are an outdoor business they were able to host the tree lighting event.
“I think it’s important for the kids to have that holiday cheer and to have Santa around and know that the holidays are still full of happiness,” she said.
Mountain Fresh Farms is open Thursday and Friday from 12 to 4 p.m. and on Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m.