Gregg takes final bough on tree farm

"After nearly 20 years in the Christmas tree farming business, George Gregg is ready to pull up his roots.In the past 12 months, he’s been forced to say goodbye to his life’s most constant companions – his wife, Joy, died of emphysema in January, and his faithful 14-year-old Labrador dog, Nick, died in September.Now, Gregg is getting ready to say goodbye to his 11-acre Gregg Christmas Tree Farm near Island Center as the current season draws to a close."

  • Sunday, December 26, 1999 9:00am
  • News

“After nearly 20 years in the Christmas tree farming business, George Gregg is ready to pull up his roots.In the past 12 months, he’s been forced to say goodbye to his life’s most constant companions – his wife, Joy, died of emphysema in January, and his faithful 14-year-old Labrador dog, Nick, died in September.Now, Gregg is getting ready to say goodbye to his 11-acre Gregg Christmas Tree Farm near Island Center as the current season draws to a close.“You reach a certain point in your life and you have to make changes,” Gregg said. “I’ve got a bum shoulder, I’m tired and I want to stop working in the mud and rain and cold.”Gregg, 74, is selling his property – farm and all – himself. The plot, just off Fletcher Bay Road, includes a 3,200-square-foot house, a 2,400-square-foot shop and two self-propagating bass-stocked ponds totaling an acre.Oh, and room for more than 6,000 trees of every conceivable Christmas variety, from Noble and Grand and Douglas firs to Scotch pine.“I don’t grow a lot of trees – (Akio) Suyematsu would sell you more trees than I do – but I feel I have a strong point,” Gregg said. “Instead of growing a lot of trees, I’d rather grow fewer and better trees.”Ironically, it was Suyematsu, the octogenarian dean of island farming, who helped Gregg get his start in the tree-farming business 20 years before. He showed Gregg how to clear the lands, how far apart to plant and how to tend them during the warm-weather months. It was initially something for Gregg to do with his four kids, now grown and long gone, after he gave up a 27-year career as a real-estate broker.One daughter, Lisa, still sells decorative wreaths through the business that she makes from her Hansville home.It took seven years for his first crop to mature, but by 1987 he was in business, and quickly developed a strong word-of-mouth reputation among the half-dozen tree growers on the island. In recent years, he’s been able to sell about 1,000 trees each of the popular Grand and Noble fir varieties – about 35 percent of his total crop.As he’s gotten older, however, the kids moved away and Gregg has had to hire help for the planting, fertilizing, shearing and mowing that is the drudgery part of the growing process. “It’s work that’s not always that intensive but it’s continual,” Gregg said. “I would still have to be out there every day.”He admitted he’ll miss the interaction with his new and longtime customers.“I only see them once a year for 20 minutes, but those 20 minutes are great,” he said. “I like to see the kids, see the older people, get caught up on the news you don’t get in the newspaper.“It’s a real community thing.””

More in News

TRAVEL ADVISORY | Viaduct demolition will impact access to Colman Dock

Washington State Ferries is reminding drivers who travel through Colman Dock to… Continue reading

Rees is standout at Spokane Falls

Cole Rees of Bainbridge Island has been honored for academic excellence Spokane… Continue reading

BARN hosts support group for Alzheimer’s caregivers

Caring for someone with memory loss? Do you need information and support?… Continue reading

People who want to live in State of Liberty rally at Capitol | 2019 Legislative Session

OLYMPIA - Representative Matt Shea, R-Spokane, was greeted by a few dozen… Continue reading

Utility work on Highway 305 may delay traffic

The Washington State Department of Transportation is warning travelers who use Highway… Continue reading

Lawmakers propose new watercraft restrictions to save southern resident orcas | 2019 Legislative Session

OLYMPIA – Lawmakers, whale watchers and environmentalists reached a rare consensus at… Continue reading

SNOW AND TELL: Bainbridge buried in biggest snow in a generation

There’s snow easy way to say it. Back-to-back snowstorms left Bainbridge Island… Continue reading

Bainbridge blotter | Writing on the wall

Selected reports from the Bainbridge Island Police Department blotter. TUESDAY, JAN. 29… Continue reading

Attorney General Ferguson reviewing border wall ‘emergency’

Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson vowed to legally challenge President Trump’s… Continue reading

Most Read