Cris & Sherry Crawford of Evening Star Pines
Eudora News and Information
A live Christmas tree can be purchased lots of places—greenhouses, grocery stores and big box stores—but for a memorable experience you’ve got to visit a Christmas tree farm. There’s just something special about wandering around among hundreds of trees until you find just the right one, and then bringing home that freshly cut, fragrant tree. It’s a tradition we started with our kids that now includes their kids. It’s something we all eagerly anticipate on Thanksgiving weekend.
One of our favorite spots is Evening Star Pines, 9820 Evening Star Road, a mile or so east of Eudora. Owned by Cris and Sherry Crawford, the farm is on 40 beautiful acres with pine and spruce trees of every imaginable size to cut, as well as pre-harvested Frasier firs brought in from Wisconsin. The Crawfords bought the property and started planting trees 22 years on, and it’s been open for business for the past 15. Though it’s only open for a few weeks before Christmas, it is a- year-round job and a lot more work that they initially expected.
“I thought it would be something that wouldn’t take much time,” Cris said with a grin, “but I was kind of wrong on that one.”
It requires a great deal of planting in spring and fall, and non-stop mowing or watering during warm weather. All the trees have to be sheared once a year in June, and that takes a month. But for the Crawfords, it’s worth all the work.
“I love having all the kids come and seeing them running around,” said Cris. “Everyone is always happy at Christmas.”
When asked what the biggest challenge was of owning a tree farm, Cris was quick to respond: “The weather!” They lost 800 trees to drought during the recent summers without rain.
Cris and Sherry make everyone feel welcome at their farm, and you get more than just a Christmas tree when you visit. There’s the cup of hot cocoa to sip with cookies and candy canes in the heated barn. There are local jams, jars of honey for sale, and beautiful handmade wreaths. There is room for kids to run and play hide and seek among the trees. And, much to every child’s delight, sleigh rides (pulled by a tractor rather than horses) around the property are offered. Evening Star Pines provides a fun and old-fashioned experience for the whole family, and one that will create wonderful memories.
Even though the tree farm keeps them busy all year, it’s not all that Cris and Sherry Crawford do. After teaching and coaching in Desoto for 29 years, Chris started a construction company called Evening Star Enterprises. Sherry teaches phys ed in the Olathe school district as well as does agility training for dogs. In whatever spare time Cris finds, he refurbishes antique sleighs. The one in the above photo is from 1897.
Evening Star Pines will be open from 9-5 each Saturday and Sunday until Christmas. Visit their website at http://www.christmas-tree.com/real/ks/evening_star/. Then visit the farm for an experience you’ll remember for years to come.