The Wolcyn family of Cambridge has been named Isanti County’s “2020 Farm Family of the Year” by the University of Minnesota.
Tom Wolcyn has been growing and selling Christmas trees for over 50 years. His parents purchased the original 80 acres in 1967. What started as a hobby has become one of the largest evergreen operations in Minnesota. At first, the family sold Christmas trees from their home in Arden Hills.
When Tom graduated from the University of Minnesota with a forestry degree, (he was a pitcher on the Gopher baseball team) he started in the tree business full-time. Tom met Adie in Madison while she was a senior at the University of Wisconsin when he went to buy a tractor.
Tom and Adie purchased the headquarters farm in 1982 and have grown the operation to include 1,200 acres of evergreens and shade trees for wholesale and retail sales. Three of their sons, Nick, Ben, and Bobby help manage operations in all areas: Christmas trees, nursery stock, container grown trees, office management, repair of equipment and more. Another son, Clint, manages one of the Christmas tree lots. All four boys graduated from the University of Northwestern-St. Paul, where they all played football.
Family members and employees plant, shear, fertilize and harvest Christmas trees in addition to digging balled and burlapped trees, spade trees, field work, wreath making and staffing the Christmas gift shop. The family operates three retail Christmas tree lots and a cut-your-own tree farm. Tom and Adie’s daughters-in-law are also involved in the business in many areas.
Tom and Nick are past board members of the Minnesota Christmas Tree Association and Ben is currently on its board of directors. Tom is a board member on the National Christmas Tree Growers Association and Minnesota Grown. The family is involved with the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association, Pheasants Forever, Minnesota Farmers Union and local churches. Ben and Nick are frequent speakers at schools on conservation days. Bobby is on the Spectacle Lake Association board.
From hiring many local people over the years, to giving free tours to school kids, donating to local fundraisers, to supporting local sports teams, being a part of the community is very important to all the Wolcyns!
Though COVID-19 has forced cancellation of the annual Minnesota Farmfest, where the awards are presented each August, this year’s honorees will be celebrated in an online video tribute. The recognition, lead by University of Minnesota President Joan Gabel, will be available at 1 p.m., Aug. 6 at mnfarmfamilies.cfans.umn.edu.
Honored families are chosen, one per county, by local University of Minnesota Extension committees based on their demonstrated commitment to their communities and to enhancing and supporting agriculture.
“We’ll miss the face-to-face ceremony for the 2020 Farm Families of the Year, but nothing diminishes the pride we take in celebrating their accomplishments,” said Extension Dean Bev Durgan. “These families represent the best in agriculture. They’re innovative and dedicated to their communities; they are stewards of the land.”