Christmas Tree Farm Grows Holiday Memories for the Making
04 Dec 2019
Cameron’s Doby Christmas Tree Farm
By Crissy Neville » Photos by Chelsey Carico
Nothing sets off the holiday season more than a fresh-from-the-farm Christmas tree. From the wonderful woodsy smell to the déjà vu digression experienced each Yuletide season, the Christmas tree is the centerpiece of the holiday home. Though many families buy artificial trees for varied reasons, nothing replaces the appeal or experience of choosing a natural tree. Locally, Doby Christmas Tree Farm in Cameron is the only live tree farm in Moore County, making it the go-to for your get-real holiday this year.
Donny and Carol Doby have operated Doby Christmas Tree Farm in Cameron since 1985 when they set out their first flight of trees. The inaugural crop was ready for cutting in 1989 and a slow start gave way to their subsequent selling of about 300 trees, or more, each year ever since.
The five-generation farm is a family affair with Donnie Doby working the land his father and grandfather did before him. Originally a row-crop farm, Doby changed to vegetables, as well as hay, wheat straw and cattle, when he first began farming in the early 1980s. He diversified to trees, he says, because “everyone is in a good mood in December, and it is fun.” Now with his daughter and her family involved in the farm, Doby has seen the farm come full circle.
Families visiting Doby Farm make their own kind of circles ― walking round and round the field in pursuit of the perfect tree. Will it be a popular Virginia pine with its dark green needles, strong branches and aromatic pine scent, or its softer, blue-green needled, full-bodied cousin, the white pine? Maybe an Eastern Red Cedar reminiscent of days gone by? This quintessential tree is the one so many southern families grew up having in their homes. This trio is what Doby calls his “mainstay” crop, having sold these Christmas contenders for 30 years.
Enter next the new kids on the block; the landscape turned Christmas tree varieties of Leyland Cypress, Blue Ice, Carolina Sapphire and Green Giant Arborvitae, which Doby added to his repertoire during the last decade. Missing from the list is the Fraser Fir, the favored tree at most of the state’s 400 some choose-and-cut locations, but one that is only mountain-grown. Doby purchased Frasers for resell in recent years; but, due to a shortage, he was not able to obtain any the last two years, nor for this one.
This has not seemed to hurt his business, though. In the last two years, Doby Christmas Tree Farm sold every right-size tree available and closed for the season early. Of the 60-acre farm, about five acres hold Doby’s 3,000 Christmas trees, but, as the grower explains, “Most people want a seven-or-eight-foot tree or even larger, and those are the first to go. After that, we would have to dip into next year’s crop to stay open longer.” With all that said, be sure to shop early.
Doby’s trees are not only fast-sellers but also best-lookers, chosen to decorate the State Capitol in 2013 by the North Carolina Christmas Tree Association.
The season begins the Friday after Thanksgiving. Families can come out early and tag a tree before opening day if they wish. Once purchased, the trees are cut, shook, netted and loaded for the customer. Wreaths are also for sale, made from a mixture of pine and cedar. Carol Doby makes most of the bows herself. Families often stay and stroll through the trees, taking pictures, petting the farm’s miniature goats and making memories of a happy holiday happening.
The trek is a tradition for many families in Moore County. After 30 years, Doby has made many friends and follows who returns each year “toting babies or grandbabies,” denoting the passing years.
“The best thing about the trees is seeing people coming back to see you each year. It makes me feel old sometimes, but it is neat, too. It is nice to sell something everybody likes and wants.”
Find out more by visiting Doby Christmas Tree Farm, 150 Doby Road, Cameron, NC, on Facebook or the NC Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services’ Visit NC Farm phone app.