HILLSBURGH – A local farm, formally Wintersinger’s Tree Farm, will be reopening as Erin Hill Acres this fall, a family operated farm run by farmers and brother-sister duo Jennie and Tyler Garrard.
Previous farm owners Albert and Josie Wintersinger retired in December of 2020 after 42 years of running Wintersinger’s Tree Farm, passing the torch onto the Garrard family to continue the tradition.
The Garrard family came across the posting for the farm in September and knew they had to get it.
“My mom has always loved Christmas her whole life,” Jennie explained. “We used to call her Mrs. Christmas, we still do, and we never imagined owning a Christmas tree farm ever in our lives.”
The holiday has always been an important piece in the Garrard family, Jennie explained, and with the pandemic they haven’t been able to get together.
“We miss it so much and we were like why can’t we have Christmas all year round and bring that joy to other families as well.”
Tyler said once the Halloween decorations went down on Oct. 31, the Christmas tree went up and would stay up until Jan. 1.
“So, it’s already a big part of our lives and now we have our Christmas trees up all year round,” he added.
With their mom having grown up on a farm and their grandfather also being a long-time farmer, the Garrard’s come from a background of multigenerational farmers.
The duo explained they will be open in November but are hopeful, depending on the weather, for an earlier debut.
They’re currently planning for a late September/early October opening but no date has been set at this time. The Garrard’s said opening dates will be dependent on the growth of this year’s planting.
“It’ll be a soft opening,” Jennie said. “We won’t have everything ready; we’re still learning here as we go.”
But, the duo noted, by the end of November the farm will be open for Christmas trees and Erin Hill Acres will be in full swing.
The remodel will feature a variety of Christmas tree species, different types of lavender, pumpkins of all sizes and sunflowers.
The farm will be offering pick your own Christmas trees, in addition to reeds, garlands and local goods.
It will also offer pumpkin picking which will likely be available fall of 2022 as well as lavender fields and photoshoot opportunities with sunflowers, which are currently in the growing stages.
“We hope that everybody’s okay with a little bit of change because that’s what you do when you make something your own,” Jennie explained.
“This is going to be our house; our home and we’re opening it to people, so we want everyone to feel welcome and hopefully they’ll love it as much as we do.”
Jennie said they’re still in the planning stages of it all, but the goal is to provide local quality, eco-friendly ingredients and products.
Once the website is up and running, Jennie said they will have a booking system set up.
“It’s still our first year and we want everyone to have the best possible experience, we don’t want to over crowd it,” Jennie explained. “We’d like to know how many people are going to be coming every day and be prepared for that.”
The duo explained that if they are able to open in the fall, they’re looking at weekend operations but are assuring the community they will be open seven days a week starting late November for the holiday season.
“It’s the same great trees but a different type of experience that you would get than before,” Jennie said. “We don’t just want it to be a Christmas thing, we want it to bring joy and happiness to everybody all year round.”
Since the farm sold and the Wintersinger’s retired, the Garrard’s are worried people in the community don’t know that they will be continuing to operate the farm, but under a new title.
“We want people to come back and know that we’re here and that its new and fresh,” Tyler said. “Christmas is alive and well here.”
“There’s a lot of rumors that we’re not open,” Jennie added. “We want to nip those in the bud because we want our returning customers to come back and meet everybody.
“We want to be part of the traditions of the past customers, the present customers, and future customers and we’re excited as a family to welcome them into our home.”
For more information and for updates on opening, visit the @erinhillacres Instagram and Facebook pages.