Since its inception, family has been the driving factor of Happy Land Tree Farm’s success. That success has led to 12 Grand Champion awards in the last 18 years at the Minnesota State Fair.
During this year’s fair, Happy Land entered eight trees into the Christmas tree competition put on by the Minnesota Christmas Tree Growers Association. Happy Land swept the competition; not only did their balsam fir take the Grand Champion Christmas Tree award, their Canaan fir won the Reserve Champion Christmas Tree award. They also took home three first place ribbons, two second place ribbons, one third place ribbon, fourth place for an undecorated wreath and fifth place for a decorated wreath.
“Just like most years Ken Olson (owner) and Lee Bacon (cousin and foreman) keep an eye out for the most stand out trees while doing maintenance in the field early in the year. Ken says they look for trees with exceptional growth habit and color,” said Ken’s daughter-in-law Myra Olson.
According to Myra, the Grand Champion winner gets the honor of donating a tree to be on display in the State Capitol and receives an opportunity to meet the governor. The Reserve Champion earns the privilege of donating trees to be on display inside and outside of the governor’s residence.
“It is a fun experience to interact with other growers with friendly competition, as well as a great way to show our trees to people from all over Minnesota,” said Myra.
At just 15 years old Ken started in the tree business and his brother Phil Olson soon joined him. The brothers were growing trees on their own properties and when the trees reached maturity they came together and Happy Land was born in 1991.
The farm produces a wide variety of Christmas trees including balsam fir, Canaan fir, Fraser fir, Veitch fir, Scotch pine and white pine. Beyond those, they grow spruce, oak, maple, linden and crabs as nursery trees for landscapers and garden centers.
To help foster family tradition, Happy Land Tree Farm allows customers to cut their own trees if they wish. If more is needed, they also have wreaths, garland, porch pots and boughs. More Christmas decor and accessories can be found in their gift shop. There is a concession stand filled with snacks, and on Nov. 30, Dec. 1, 7 and 8 there will be a horse drawn wagon ride that will bring you to cut your tree.
According to Myra, Santa would say:
‘Happy Land brings a lot of joy and happiness to the Christmas season.’
Happy Land Tree Farm is located at 16706 Groningen Road in Sandstone. For more information find them on Facebook, visit www.happylandtreefarms.com or call 320-245-5135.