It's the time of year when many people decorate for the holidays. And for generations of Cincinnatians that means a trip to get a Christmas tree. Local 12's Joe Webb takes us to a familiar place for the family tree.. a place that is "So Cincinnati."
The Big Tree Plantation outside Morrow is an ever growing and shrinking forest of Christmas memories. The rows and rows of evergreens started out as a sideline on the farm of dentist Frank Antenucci. "I thought I was being a farmer and it took, I'm not a very quick learner. It took a long time for us to realize this is about helping share the real meaning of Christmas."
Antenucci sold 200 trees his first year. Big Tree Plantation has taken off since then. Picking and cutting your own Christmas tree is the main attraction. "I think it's great. Like we said, this is our second year. Try to make it a tradition each year."
But there's more than the trees. The farm features hayrides for children, up close and personal time with reindeer, a life size nativity in the barn that's become a full- blown gift shop and of course an annual visit from Santa. It's the North Pole, with trees.
Big Tree Plantation has about 40,000 Christmas trees in the ground. They hope to sell about 4000 this season. It's not a long season. They hope to sell all of those in five days. One rainy weekend after Thanksgiving can make for a not- so-merry Christmas. Bryan and Jennifer Keeton bought Big Tree Plantation a few years ago, knowing it's not your typical farm. "The challenge is you make a mistake this year and you won't pay for it for 7 years. So the recovery time is...you're looking at an 8 year crop instead of an annual crop. And you work 360 days a year and sell the other five."
It is a business, but in the end it's more. Big Tree Plantation is an opportunity to make Christmas memories or relive them. It is a farm, but unlike the guy raising corn, these farmers let you harvest and get to watch you enjoy the fruits of their labor. "We work 11 months a year just to have families come out and have a Christmas tradition on the farm."
A Christmas tradition that is So Cincinnati.
Frank Antenucci and his wife Ann sold the farm a few years ago, but still live in the house on the property.