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Farming with a festive feeling

The O’Dwyer family has begun Christmas preparations early.

GEOFF ADAMS June 10, 2014 3:07am

Joe, Bridget and Lewis O'Dwyer with Christmas trees.


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The O’Dwyer family has begun Christmas preparations early.

Last week they finished planting about 1600 Christmas trees.

Marcus and Fiona O’Dwyer have been growing trees for about 12 years, since they bought a rural block of land to raise their three children at Kialla.

‘‘We were both raised on farms so we wanted to have a place the kids could enjoy,’’ Marcus said.

They were looking for a low-maintenance land use to occupy their few hectares when Marcus discovered he couldn’t buy a real Christmas tree anywhere near Shepparton.

Now they have a few thousand Pinus radiata trees in their back yard.

‘‘It’s a very happy business,’’ Fiona said. ‘‘It’s about Christmas time and the smell evokes positive memories.’’

The couple has encouraged their children to get involved in the Christmas tree project.

‘‘We wanted them to learn responsibility, about growing things and rewards for working hard,’’ Fiona said.

The reward is a beach holiday for the family and the children easily volunteer stories about swimming, body boarding and the odd shark tale from their favourite holiday place.

Demand for the trees starts on December 1 and can run right up to Christmas.

‘‘We had one guy came looking for a tree on Christmas Eve,’’ Marcus said.

‘‘He’d just got out of jail and wanted to take one home. He said: ‘I have to go home with a tree. I had $40 but I had to buy a packet of cigarettes on the way.’

‘‘That was about 4pm on December 24.’’

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