by Marcia Napier, Grain Valley Historical Society
Now that Halloween is over, people are already talking about hauling out the Christmas lights! While many folks put up artificial trees before Thanksgiving, the live trees usually don’t go on sale until Thanksgiving weekend.
That was the case at Greene Acres Christmas Tree Farm. It all began in 1976 when the family planted 10,000 Scotch Pines on their farm just north of Pink Hill Road on Buckner Tarsney. Allowing for the trees to grow, the business opened in 1984. By the mid 1990s they were also growing white pines for their customers who preferred the softer needles.
Frank and Dorothy Greene started the business as a way for their children and grandchildren to earn extra holiday money. It was also a hobby for them after retirement.
The farm was immortalized on Hallmark holiday card, but in 1995 they were approached by Houghton Mifflin Company to have the farm included in a social studies textbook for second grade students.
Sheila Horowitz, an editor with Houghton Mifflin, Co., at the time, stated that what they liked best was that it was a small (business), and the family worked together.
The book was published in 1997 and included four pages which focused on the tree farm and business concepts. Words and definitions such as ‘consumer’ were highlighted in the text.
The Greene’s granddaughter, Lori Affolter (Parish), 10 years old at the time, was featured and the four pages included a map of Grain Valley, pointing out vital spots such as the farm and Lori’s school.
The following excerpt appeared in The Kansas City Star on Thursday, November 23, 1995:
"Students can identify with someone their own age. Lori likes to sell trees and serve hot chocolate to ‘consumers.’ Lori spends some money and saves some money. Lori works at the farm year-round, but she is busiest during the holidays. She has worked there with her grandparents, her mother, two brothers and a sister, four aunt and uncles and 13 cousins.”
Many of you may recall the Greene Acres Christmas Tree Farm. Perhaps some of you purchased a tree or a wreath from the Greene Family. Over the years, I bought several wreaths there for my front door. But one of my fondest memories was of Dorothy’s delicious hot chocolate. It was and still is THE BEST!