Holiday Forest Updates!!!
Opening Saturday after Thanksgiving and closing the 2nd or 3rd weekend in December.
Open Weekends Only: Saturday (all day); Sunday (afternoons)
We will open our Christmas sales season on the Saturday after Thanksgiving and be open only on weekends. Our weekend hours are: Saturdays - 9 till dark and Sundays – 1 till dark. The farm will close after the 2nd or 3rd weekend in December (call if in doubt). However, you might be able to catch Jim during the week, especially in the afternoons, but be sure to call the evening before to make an appointment as he comes up to the farm some week days to work. Be advised that we close during really inclement weather, especially when the trees are soppy wet as they really don't shake well for removal of dead needles and are a mess to deal with when wet. The trees usually dry within a few hours after the rain stops if there is any perceivable wind movement and/or sunshine.
We have the Cedar Valley Tree Holder in 3 sizes that utilizes a simple, but effective, tensioning system similar to the common tent rope tensioner. We also have a Mitchell Stand Straight stand (tapered spike stand for which we drill a tapered hole in the base of the tree trunk. The Stand Straight stands, 2 sizes--medium and large, are made of heavy steel rebar with a steel tapered pin protruding from the center—a plastic water container is first impaled on that.
Our small diesel tractor continues to be used to pull the hay ride/tree hauler trailer. The “diesel sound" is a hit with our customers and especially with the kids.
DIRECTIONS TO HOLIDAY FOREST:
From LR, NLR, SHERWOOD VCTY.---Proceed N. on Hwy. 107 (JFK) past Gravel Ridge and Bayou Meta Elem. Sch. to the N. Pulaski Fire & Rescue Dist. bldg. (red/white gables). Turn left on to Roderweis and proceed to the stop sign at Batesville Pike (T-intersection). Turn right on to Batesville Pike for approximately 1/4 mile to Dorsey Rd. Turn left on to Dorsey and proceed 2 plus miles to 8917 Dorsey Rd. Holiday Forest is on the left (south) side of the road.
From JACKSONVILLE ---Proceed west via Gen. Samuels Rd. to Hwy. 107 (JFK) and follow the directions above.
From CABOT (and all points north)---Proceed west on Hwy. 89, crossing Hwy. 5, and Hwy. 107 and continue sw for 3/4 mile (past Davis Ranch Rd.) to Dorsey Rd. Turn right (west) on to Dorsey and proceed 2 plus miles to 8917 Dorsey Rd. Holiday Forest is on the left (south) side of the road.
From VILONIA---Proceed S. on Hwy. 107 (JFK) 6 miles (just past the Lester Flat Memorial Park) to the “T” intersection with Fortson Rd. Turn right on to Fortson and proceed to the bottom of Billy Goat Mt. to the newly remodeled and landscaped Stanfill Baptist Ch. Turn left (east) on to Dorsey Rd. and proceed for 1/2 mile to 8917 Dorsey Rd. Holiday Forest is on your right (south) side of the road.
From CONWAY ---Proceed to Vilonia and follow the directions above.
From MAYFLOWER---Proceed due east on Hwy. 89 1 mile into Pulaski County (on Sayles Rd.), to the 4-way stop sign at the intersection with Fortson Rd. Turn left (north) onto Fortson Rd. and go approximately 2 miles to the newly remodeled and landscaped Stanfill Baptist Ch. Turn right (east) on to Dorsey Rd. and proceed for 1/2 mile to 8917 Dorsey Rd. Holiday Forest is on your right (south) side of the road.
THE STORY OF HOLIDAY FOREST
The Geisler's (Jim and Ella) purchased Holiday Forest in 1984 from John and Becky Rissinger. At that time, 7 of the 10 acres were planted in Virginia , Eastern white, and spruce pines, and a few Eastern redcedar. The Rissingers started the farm by planting the first trees in 1976, establishing the first Christmas tree farm in Pulaski Co. They called the farm Winterwood up until we made the purchase in 1984. The saleable trees right now are Virginia pine, Leyland cypress, and White pine.
Jim sheared the entire 7 acres with machete-like knives the first year. His youngest daughter, Pam, then in Sr.-High, attracted boys like a magnet so Jim took advantage of some sucker labor and tried to sort through the "herd" to find a "few good men" but the road to that lofty goal was long and full of pitfalls. Needless to say, when he heard that someone had developed a shearing machine, he purchased one immediately and has no regrets. Since that shaky start, Jim has been able to do most of the work on the farm by himself. Of course, Jim employs many elves (including wife, daughters, grandchildren, and local youth) during the brief sales season.
It had taken 6 to 8 years to produce a saleable sized Virginia pine Christmas tree. This is 50% longer than it should take. Therefore, any new seedlings are now being planted on a site that has first been ripped with a subsoil chisel to a depth of 24 inches. This is done in the late summer and is done across the hillside, on the contour, so that the runoff rainfall will collect in the rips and the roots can penetrate below the natural hardpan that exists 4 to 6 inches below the topsoil. Before the rip, the site was the equivalent of trying to grow trees on 4 to 6 inches of soil that was spread over a huge concrete parking lot. When it got hot and dry, the trees simply went dormant as the roots were practically on top of the ground.
The trees receive approximately 17 special silvacultural treatments each year. This includes fertilizing, weed control, insect control, fungus control, shearing, staking, and pruning among the more important inputs necessary to produce saleable trees.
We are best known for our hot spiced tea (a recipe inherited from the Rissingers) and our large trees (to 12'). The kids especially enjoy the hay ride, candy canes, and surprisingly, the hot spiced tea (a tea base with orange, apple, and pineapple juices).