About Us …
Huebner Christmas Tree Farm began in January 2005, after Steve retired as Leon County Extension Agent in August 2004. Carole retired from working at the Centerville News a couple years later. Our first sales season was November/December 2008. We grew and marketed Virginia Pines, Leyland Cypress and Blue Ice Arizona Cypress at our sales shop, plus brought in pre-cut Frazer Firs from North Carolina. After the severe drought of 2011, when deer did substantial damage to our young Leylands, we put deer-proof fencing around one of our fields, knowing the area could be used for other purposes later on. A few years later we decided to diversify – and this was the beginning of Huebner Berry Patch & Fruit Farm. At the top of the fenced field, we put in our first blackberries.
In January/February 2015, we planted 750 feet of blackberries, putting in 3 different varieties: Kiowa, Ouachita & Natchez (one thorned & 2 thornless). The following year we added another thornless variety, Osage, plus more Natchez. Last year (2020), we planted a new variety Caddo, plus more Osage. This row of blackberries looks beautiful, and we look forward to some production off these young vines. This year (2021), we put in additional berry plants – before and after the snow & ice storms. Most survived and are growing. However, they will not have berries until next year. We added another half row each of Kiowa, Caddo and the latest University of Arkansas release Ponca.
In January 2016, we planted the first peach and plum trees in the bottom 3 rows of the fenced field. We added additional rows of trees over the next 2 years, including some lower chill hours peaches, a few pluots and a couple of fig trees. Unfortunately, only 1 pluot has survived, and the figs have had a hard time getting established and may be a victim of the extreme cold temperatures (-1 degree).
The summer of 2018, we harvested our first peaches from the original 3 rows. Since these trees were young, there was a limited supply of peaches to market. We picked them ourselves, and sold most at the farm and the Centerville Farmers Market. We hoped for more production the following 2 seasons, but Mother Nature did not cooperate. We lost a lot of blooms and peaches to late freezes, so we only had a partial crop (approximate 30%) to sell.
Currently, thanks to lots of chill hours last fall and winter, the peaches & plums have been in full bloom, and are setting baby fruit. So, unless there is a late freeze, we should have a good crop this summer. Please pray for more rain – the developing fruit and trees need it!
We are proud to say our fruit farm is a family-friendly destination. We have two sizes of picking buckets for berries, including a small one for kids. We encourage customers to “taste test” the different varieties – they all have a slightly different flavor & sweetness. For example: although the berries are smaller, the Osage has a nice rich taste and retains its sweetness.
We were open for fruit sales and berry picking in 2020 despite the Corona virus. We had new safety precautions in place, including limiting the number of people in the sales shop at one time, and requiring masks inside the sales shop. Hand sanitizer was available; tables, door handles and other surfaces were disinfected regularly; and buckets were washed and sanitized after each use.
We will follow the same safety precautions this year, and encourage wearing masks in the sales shop. Masks are not required in the picking field, but we still encourage “social distancing.”
Blackberries should be ready for picking around the end of May or first week of June, and continue until the end of June or up to July 4th (depending on weather). Peaches begin ripening in mid-June, through July, depending on variety. Plums usually ripen in early June.
Note: No pets are allowed in the fruit orchard, due to sanitary restrictions. If you must bring your pet/dog, please be prepared to leave him or her in your vehicle, or tied or crated inside the barn.
After the 2019 Christmas sales season we made the difficult decision to retire from the Christmas tree farm business. Growing Christmas trees is very labor-intensive, and we’re not getting any younger… Plus, now we can devote our time fully to the fruit orchard, and have a little extra time for family and camping. However, Carole is thinking about making and decorating some fresh wreaths to sell at the beginning of the Christmas season.