About Omni Farm
On a crispy, clear country morning in the North Carolina Mountains. The Omni Farm crew sets out early because they have a full day of cutting Christmas trees ahead. In 1972 the Gimlin Family purchased a small farm in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. The farm had a few Christmas trees growing on it, and some empty fields to be planted. The older Gimlins thought this might be the perfect opportunity for their son, Hal, and his wife Martha, fresh out of college and with no particular direction in mind. This sounded good to son Hal, who told his wife, “We’ll be farmers. My grandfather had a farm that my parents took me to for visits when I was young. It’s in our blood… this will be fun!” No matter that the only Christmas trees he had ever seen were ones in a tree stand in his parents living room.
So with the exuberance of youth, they loaded the old VW bus and it was off to the Mountains of North Carolina. Did we blunder around? We could write a book on things not to do. We were a constant source of entertainment to our farming neighbors. “Can’t have a farm without farm animals,” says farmer Hal. Goats were purchased, they quickly proceeded to eat all the old rose bushes and shrubbery, stripping the bark off all the fruit trees, and killing them. Between the goats, chickens, “What’s a chicken coop?” farmer Hal asks one of his neighbors. and the pigs, who after about a week, took a hike and were never seen again. The old home place was taking on the look of a blighted desert.
What do young farmers do on those lonely nights when the nearest theaters and restaurants are forty miles away? Soon a son was born (Wiley), to be followed shortly by a daughter (Jody).
It’s been wonderfully, hard-working years since the inception of Omni Farm in 1972. We still make mistakes, but not as many. Christmas trees are our main business. Hal was the founder of this operation. Though he passed last year, his dreams live on through his surviving family. Daughter Jody is continuing to carry out her mother’s high standards of production and creativity with the wreath operation, and son Wiley is now running the business and works the crews that trim, fertilize, and harvest the trees. Patty, our sister-in-law, runs the office and mail order. Omni Farm is truly a family-run business.
So from our family to yours, Merry Christmas and a Happy prosperous New Year.
OMNI FARM IS THE OLDEST, MOST EXPERIENCED
CHRISTMAS TREE MAIL ORDER COMPANY IN THE WORLD!
In the early 1980’s, Dave Larson, a business professor at Virginia Tech, and owner of Brookfield Christmas Tree Plantation, originated the concept of selling individually-boxed Christmas trees directly to the customer. Dave’s first slogan was “A tree in your mailbox!” High quality, convenience, and a fresher tree made Dave a success. Dave was a very open, giving type of individual, he was always willing to share his ideas with the other tree growers. “It’s a big market out there,” Dave would say, “I can’t supply all of it. I just want to see people do it right.”
In 1987, we attended a seminar Dave was giving on Mail Order Christmas trees. The previous year we had produced a small brochure and had shipped a few trees. However, it was the advice and council Dave gave us that really got us going. In 1991, Dave decided to retire from the Christmas tree business. He wanted to devote more time to helping small business in third world countries learn modern business techniques.
Omni Farm purchased Brookfield Christmas trees in April, 1991. What we got was Dave’s old Unix computer system with his custom software. Some even older telephones. Several hand-crank boxing machines, a lot of good advice, and most importantly, a nice list of very satisfied customers. We are proud to say many of Dave’s first customers are still with us today. With Brookfield and Omni Farm’s experience, you are dealing with the oldest, most experienced Direct Shipper of fresh, quality Christmas trees. At Omni Farm, we’re not trying to be the biggest, just the best.