The Berry Family Farm (Berry’s Christmas Tree Farm) was recently awarded the Centennial Family Farm Award by the Georgia DNR-Historic Preservation Division during a ceremony at The Georgia National Fair.
The farm, in Almon between Covington and Conyers, was originally purchased by Charles Woodson Berry in January 1894. The original 206¼ acres was not actually deeded to the Berry family until June 1902.
The farm began as a dairy and row crop operation, and four generations of the Berry family continued this tradition for more than 80 years. Corn, hay, and Jersey cows were raised on the farm along the Georgia /CSX Railroad.
With the passing of Charles Woodson Berry, the property was passed on to his heirs, including his wife, Florence Elizabeth Hyatt Berry and children: Carrie Berry Stone, Henry Berry, Jim Berry, Charles Hamilton Berry, and Linda Berry Pate. The entire farm was eventually purchased from the remaining heirs by Charles (Charlie) Hamilton Berry Sr. (1895 -1975). Charlie continued to operate the farm as a dairy and sold milk to the former Sealtest Dairies in Atlanta.
Charlie Berry was married to Mattie Lou Owens Berry, and they had three children: Elizabeth Berry Holifield, Charlie Joe Berry, and Charles (C.H.) Berry Jr. Charlie Joe was tragically killed at the age of 2 on the railroad tracks that divide the farm.
Charlie Berry Sr. died in 1975. When his wife died in 1983, the farm was divided between their surviving children, Elizabeth and C.H. (1924 - ). The 100- plus acres inherited by the children of Elizabeth Berry Holifield was sold for development in 2004. The 100-plus acres inherited by C.H are still in the possession of C.H. and his wife, Hilda Day Ewing Berry. Their son, Charles (Charles) Hamilton Berry III (1947 - ) has also been very involved in the farm.
Charles (Chuck) Hamilton Berry IV (1972 - ) and Christy Lee Berry Allen are the children of Charles Berry and Linda Berry. Charles (Chase) Hamilton Berry V (1999 - ) is the son of Chuck Berry and Kim Berry. Anslee and Hartlee Allen are the daughters of Christy Berry Allen and Scoot Allen.
All of C.H. Berry’s descendants remain active in the farming operation, which in 1977 became a Christmas tree operation. Since the first "choose and cut" Christmas trees were sold on the farm in 1983, Berry’s Christmas Tree Farm has been a mainstay in the Covington area. By 1999, it sold 3,700 trees.
Christmas trees continue to be the major crop on the Berry Family Farm, with Chuck and Chase Berry playing the lead role for the last five years.
The original barns, chicken coop, and other buildings of the early 1900s that once stood south of the railroad have been torn down.
The milk barn, hay barn, and equipment shed that now stand north of the railroad were built during the 1950s. Also constructed in the 1950s was the first of two fish ponds; the second was built in the 1980s.
Within the past 25 years, other structures have been built to help sustain the farm, including an equipment repair shop, greenhouse, retail sales office, concession stand, public restrooms, a train station, Santa’s house, and a "pond house" used for meals and gatherings.