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Hansen Tree Farm
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Hansen Tree Farm

We work hard to make our forest and farm a great experience for all ages. It holds many warm memories for four generations of the Hansen family and many of our friends and workers. Dress for the weather and we’re sure you will have an enjoyable adventure. While our forest is less than a mile from the Northstar Commuter Rail depot in Ramsey, once you come through our gate you’ll think you’ve landed in the north woods. We try to enhance that feeling in many ways; our log structures, campfire, hay rides, cars out by the fields and under big pines rather than in a congested lot, native prairie areas, and foremost the tall pines that intersperse our fields of Christmas trees and trails that connect them all.

Henry Hansen envisioned our farm-forest as a model, common in Scandinavia, of a productive forest near an urban area. The lesson is that trees are a renewable resource and we can enjoy the land, harvest from it, use it for recreation and relaxation, take care of it with intensive work, share it with deer-turkeys-pheasants-eagles-owls, and with a fair price for our product it is sustainable. There are areas of northern Europe that have been managed like this for hundreds of years. Following is our relatively short history…

In 1952 Henry Hansen, Charlotte Hansen, and her father Harry Lindquist planted their first trees.  Henry was a forestry professor at the University of Minnesota and had seen Christmas tree 'plantations' in the eastern U.S.   But in Minnesota trees were still harvested from the wild and hauled in to sell as Christmas trees.  Hansen Tree Farm became the first farm in the state to plant and grow trees to become Christmas trees.  Henry and Charlotte planned to - and did - use the profits to pay for college for their two - and by 1954, three - boys to college.

Henry Hansen in 1960 checking out the first crop of white spruce  Henry Hansen in 1960 checking out the first crop of white spruce,
planted in 1952.
 
Mark & Dave 1959 Mark Hansen goofing off and Dave ready to cut down an un-sheared Scotch pine, 1959.  
Harry Tree Farm 1975 Harry Lindquist with a customer
and a large red pine.
 
1975 Petie Brunsell  The first harvest was about over by 1970. Trees were either gone or grown too large.  

The original trees were sold through florists such as Bachman's plus neighborhood tree lots in the Twin Cities.  Starting in the mid-1960s some were also sold as choose-and-cut, a new concept in the region.

The farm did indeed put Trygg, David and Mark through college.  During that time the family took a hiatus from the tree business, since the first crop was way too tall to be considered for Christmas trees and the family too busy.  But in 1981 the "boys", now with their own families, decided to plant a new crop of trees for the next generation of college students.  To make room for the seedlings, for four years they sold the now very large - 25' - trees to churches and high-ceilinged homes.  Each one was loaded with the tractor and placed on large trailers.  Finally, in 1989, the second generation of trees came to market and the remaining large trees are left as a forest.  

Since then they have not stopped planting, pruning, watering, and selling Christmas trees. And, watching their children help with the work, and now grandchildren as well, making a total of four generations.

Dave Unsheared Balsam  Dave has lots of ideas, like growing 'natural' balsam under the big trees. 
Mark Logging Job  Mark does lots of work, like periodic thinning of the big trees. 
Mark and Kids Slash fire  Mark and two of his boys and Dave's daughter, Britta, learning the art of burning logging slash. 
Britta 1984  Britta learning to
walk through snow
and not fall, 1984.
 

Skier at sunset Kip, youngest of Mark's three boys. 
Kell Truss 5 Dave's son Kell, assembling barn trusses with a pneumatic impact wrench.
Kell Truss 6 The barn went up in 1999.
Barn Construction Artisan Gallery and Gifts
began in 2002.
Gift Shop Janet Janet, Dave & Mark's cousin, helped develop the Gallery for a decade. Now, Jeanne Hansen, Mark's son's Trygve's wife supervises with efficiency & flair.
Snow on Britta A perfectly composed Christmas card turns ugly when a tree dumps its snow on Britta.
Trygve, Marks oldest with daughter Trygve, Mark's oldest, with his daughter and her elementary school teacher. 
Tractor Planting We are now harvesting from this field of balsam, planted by Mark and Britta.  This is the last field planted by tractor, our drip irrigation system means all trees must be planted by shovel.

While the trees are a joy to watch grow up, is it second to the satisfaction of seeing people of all ages visit the farm each year and share the beauty and of our (their?) work. And often a new generation of customers comes, telling of their memories as children finding a tree on the farm.

Forests for Humanity We donated logs to Forests for Humanity, which made lumber and gave to Habitat for Humanity to build homes in Elk River.
Wildfire Bad things can happen as when this wildfire approached in 2005.
Helicopter drop Ground crews, airplanes and a helicopter stopped the fire, caused by a careless backyard trash fire.
Award Winning Trees and Wreaths You may have noticed our award winning trees and wreaths at the Minnesota State Fair. But did you know the large overhead banners are from photos taken by Dave Hansen? His full time job is a photographer and most of the photos in the Ag-Hort building are Dave's creations, from Honeycrisp apples to the newest variety of wheat.
Beautiful Wreaths Mark Hansen makes each one of our beautiful wreaths. See him at work in the gift shop, and this year he took second place at the State Fair. Mark is also on the board of directors of the Minnesota Christmas Tree Association and of Minnesota Grown.

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