FRANKLIN – The holiday season is in full swing, and for many that means going out to find the best Christmas tree. One tree farm has been a favorite for families in and outside of Maine.
Finding that perfect tree has become a holiday tradition. Michael Rock has been helping generations of families carry out that tradition, and it all started in Florida.
“People would ask you where you were from and I would say Franklin, Maine which was the Christmas tree capital of the world,” said Rock, now owner of Maine Mountain Man Christmas Trees and Wreaths. “They said you ought to look into bringing some down here and I did and the rest is history.”
With one truck and a tiny trailer, Maine Mountain Man was born.
“Not enough trees to make any money, but just a little,” said Rock. “Just enough to tease you and then slowly built up and the end of it we had two tractor trailers.”
There was quite the list of buyers.
“Burt Reynolds, he was one of my first,” said Rock.
He also sold trees to well-known athletes such as Bobby Orr.
They were searching for the authentic Maine Christmas tree.
They’re all natural,” said Maine Mountain Man Christmas Trees and Wreaths manager Christian Fitztgerald. “We don’t use any chemicals on them. We don’t plant trees. The little ones that come up, we take care of and turn into the next crop, so it’s a nice place to be. I like how we do it.”
Rock no longer sells trees in Florida, but still has quite the following here.
“I think it’s just the travel up and being together as a family and arguing about what tree is the best tree,” said long-time customer Chris Schleif.
Maine Mountain Man Christmas Trees is coming up on 40 years of business. Rock says there’s more to come.
“That’s one of the things I’ve been blessed with,” he said. “I’ve always been able to get good help around here.”
No matter what, he’s just happy to spread a little bit of Christmas spirit.
“And if you watch the kids going in and out you’ll get that spirit too,” said Rock.