By ABBY BROWNBACK and SHANNON HOFFMAN
FRIENDSHIP, Md. (December 13, 2010) They started with 10,000 trees on 37 acres, but the appeal of a traditional family outing has created a steady stream of business since Nov. 26 that has winnowed the selection of evergreens at Friendship Trees in southern Maryland.
The farm, where 80 percent of customers are people who've come before, will close after Sunday because of low inventory, said Darrell Dockery, one of the business partners who run the farm.
But the families who searched for their perfect Christmas trees seemed to find exactly what they came for.
"It's a good Christmas tradition," said Sandy Fullerton, of Chesapeake Beach, who came with her husband and three children. "It keeps our family close. It gives us something to look forward to every year.
"It's all about family and holidays and Christmas and tradition, and that's why we love it."
And Dockery has seen how those desires keep customers coming despite the chilly weather.
"It's windy and cold, and they're still out here like crazy," he said. "It's the tradition of cutting their own tree and coming down here to experience the family and fun."