Published Apr 20, 2017

Member Spotlight — Cathy and Dennis Carlson, of Hampton

By Tamsyn Jones

Dennis and Cathy Carlson
Carlson Tree Farm
Members since 2014
Hampton, IA

Cathy and Dennis grow chemical-free trees and wheat on their 17-acre farm near Hampton. Their tree farm – Carlson Tree Farm – specializes in Christmas trees and related products, such as fresh wreaths.

The couple started Carlson Tree in the 1980s to generate extra family income. Dennis, who worked as a forester for Franklin County Conservation (when he retired in 2010, he served as director there), was able to apply his expertise to farming trees.

Today, the business remains a family endeavor. The couple’s three children – Michelle, Kelly and Ben – grew up with the business and still help. Michelle’s and Kelly’s husbands and children are also now part of the operation; and siblings, nieces and nephews and their children also help.

Cathy and Dennis raise about 4,000 trees – a mix of Scotch pine, white pine, white spruce, blue spruce and  Fraser firs – on a 10-year rotation, selling about 300 to 400 per year.

In addition to the tree farm, Cathy has for many years operated Cathy’s Country Cook’n, baking special-order wedding cakes, pies, cookies and breads, and teaching classes in bread-making.

The wheat she grows is used to make whole-wheat flour that she bags and sells either as grain for customers to grind, or pre-ground into flour.

Learn more about Cathy and Dennis in this 2014 article published in Agri News.