Connecticut’s First Family is among those who have made annual pilgrimages to Jones Family Farms in Shelton to find the centerpiece of their holiday celebrations. For 26 years, before becoming Governor, Dannel Malloy and his family would hike the acreage of Jones Family Farms to find the tree for their home. This year is no exception. In cooperation with the CCTGA, Governor Malloy and his family visited Jones Family Farms and handpicked the trees that adorn the Governor’s Residence in Hartford.
The public is invited to an open house at the Residence Dec 2 – 4, which includes viewing the Jones Family Farms trees decorated in all their splendor. In a press release, Governor Malloy said; “The Governor’s Residence truly belongs to the public, and this is a great opportunity for Connecticut families to stop by and see the house decked out in festive holiday decorations, all of which were generously donated by several local organizations.”
“It’s an enormous honor to grow the trees to be used in decorating the Governor’s Residence again this year,” stated Terry Jones of Jones Family Farms. “It’s very heart-warming to see our hard work, that started with my father over 70 years ago, be shared with the residents of Connecticut in this way.”
As part of a 4-H project in the late 1930s, Philip Jones planted a small grouping of pine trees on his family’s dairy farm in Shelton, CT. A decade later, friends and neighbors asked Philip if they could pay to cut down one of the trees to use as their family Christmas tree. The proverbial light bulb went on above Philip’s head. In the 1950s, along with his wife Elisabeth, Philip became one of the forefathers of the every-growing harvest-your-own Christmas tree tradition in the state and served as the first President of the Connecticut Christmas Tree Growers Association (CCTGA).
Kathy Kogut, Executive Director of the CCTGA, stated; “Presently, there are approximately 5000 acres of Christmas trees planted and over 500 plus Christmas tree farms throughout the state for consumers to visit and harvest their own Connecticut grown tree.”
Today, the Jones family continues to invite thousands of families from all around New England and the Tri-State area to their 400-acre, 7-generation farm to find their family tree.
As Philip’s original pines stand tall (and are celebrated on the Jones’ annual Connecticut-made Woodbury pewter ornament), the farm grows some fan-favorite varieties of trees including Colorado blue spruce, balsam fir, douglas fir and fraser fir. These trees are grown for their good needle retention and ability to stand up to the weather patterns of southern New England.
The Christmas time traditions at Jones’ have expanded to include wreaths, garland, fresh baked cookies, hot cider, a beautiful gift shop featuring local products and the award-winning Jones Winery that offers 13 locally made wines.
Jones Family Farms is open daily at their Homestead Farm (606 Walnut Tree Hill Road, Shelton) 9:00am to 5:30 through Christmas Eve. Call the Farmer Jones hotline (203.929.8425) for daily information. You can also visit JonesFamilyFarms.com or follow the farm on Facebook and Twitter.