Lee Farms is a family operation that spans seven generations. Founded as a traditional farm in 1869 by the Jurgens family and joined by the Martinazzi family two decades later, it has since evolved to become what it is today: a family-friendly destination where locals can go to experience the joys of farm life.
During the holiday season, Lee Farms offers Christmas trees, wreaths, pies, and more. But it wasn’t always this way, with a shift happening in the 1970’s when the area started becoming more urban. Up until that point, the farm was focused on regular operations, and there was little community involvement. But that all changed in the 70’s, when the farm opened up to visitors for u-pick strawberries. Plus, they planted Christmas trees, which would eventually become the Christmas tree farm that it is today.
Craig Lee from the fifth-generation co-owns the farm with his daughter, Annie Lee Bartelamia and her husband, Noah Bartelamia. Craig planted the trees with his dad, and would later go on to oversee the development of the Christmas tree farm and pumpkin patch. These days, families and children flock there to enjoy everything from fresh berries in the summer, hayrides and corn mazes in the fall, to picking the perfect Christmas tree in the winter.
The Lee family has kept their traditions alive by passing along their passion through the generations. There are currently four generations actively involved, which include the youngest who range in age between 4-months-old and 13-years-old.
Sixth-generation Annie remembers helping make custom bows for wreaths as a 9-year-old and reminisced about her 13-year-old sisters cutting down trees for customers.
“My favorite memories growing up are being on the farm with my family, working, all hands on deck,” she said. “We really believe in having our kids working on the farm with us.”
And when asked about what it means to celebrate 150 years on the farm, Annie expressed her appreciation for the generations that came before her.
“There’s so much rich heritage in the Tualatin community and our family has been a huge part of that,” she said. “You look around at all the farms that are becoming housing developments, and there’s no farms. So we feel really fortunate that our ancestors saw value in having this farm and passing it on to us. So it means a lot that we’ve been able to be here for 150 years.”
They held a big picnic celebration over the summer to commemorate the anniversary, where they served hot dogs, their best-selling doughnuts, and cupcakes.
Moreover, support from the local community is paramount to any family business, and Lee Farms is no exception.
“I’d like to encourage people to shop locally, even it’s not here,” explained Annie. “You’re supporting your own community and creating fun experiences for people that you don’t get at the department stores.”
She also added that should people choose Lee Farms or others like it, that “You’re supporting local agriculture, otherwise there’s no local farms.”
Christmas Trees & Decor
Lee Farms offers families the chance to enjoy the tradition of hunting for the perfect Christmas tree through their “We-Cut” service. Or, they offer already-cut trees for those looking for a quick trip. They also have tree flocking on-site, which make it appear as though the trees are covered in snow.
There are four different trees to choose from. The Noble and Douglas Fir trees are the most traditional options. The Grand Fir is the most fragrant of all of the trees, while the Nordman is hypoallergenic with no smell.
In addition, they offer custom wreaths, centerpieces, and garlands cut to any length. These customized pieces are available until they’re sold out, which was in early December last year.
This year, there are Christmas tree farms in the area that are closing for the season due to a shortage of trees. So the chance to enjoy the tradition at Lee Farms is a great opportunity for the locals. Plus, purchasing a tree straight from the farm means getting the freshest tree possible. These can be wet from the dew of the outdoors when customers take them home, which is ideal to ensure its longevity. In fact, a tree from Lee Farms, should it be watered properly and kept indoors, can last until March.
The Country Store
A trip to Lee Farms doesn’t feel complete without a stop in their well-decorated country store. And inside the store is a bakery, where employees work tirelessly to churn out baked goods.
During the holiday season, the store is festive, with Christmas music playing in the background and holiday decor everywhere. And it’s a busy time for the bakery too, as they produce a large volume of pies in over 20 flavors.
And heading to the farm only requires a ten-minute drive from the heart of Tualatin. Even though it’s a quick trip, it’s a world apart from the hustle and bustle of city life. Visit them at 21975 SW 65th Ave., Tualatin, or online at www.leefarmsoregon.com.
Christmas-tree cutting is available through Dec. 23 from 12 p.m. until 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, and between 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Meanwhile, the country store is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day through Dec. 23.