Mike Gogo, owner of Gogo’s Christmas Tree Farm, is celebrating the farm’s 90th year of Christmas tree production. Gogo, 74, said he still hasn’t lost his enthusiasm for tree cultivation. (CHRIS BUSH/The News Bulletin)

Gogo’s tree farm celebrates 90th year of growing Christmas trees

Gogo Christmas tree farm has grown Christmas trees since 1929 and started U-cut business in 1984

On a foggy Monday afternoon families in pickups roll up a driveway, past 1930s trucks and tractors and wooden carvings of a black bear – reared up, paws raised with sharp teeth bared – and a sasquatch that looks like the one from the Harry and the Hendersons movie, on their way to the main office at Gogo’s Christmas Tree Farm.

Black bears might be common on Vancouver Island and sasquatches maybe not so much, but there are plenty of trees for families to choose and cut their perfect Christmas tree.

The Gogo family has raised Christmas trees on the farm since 1929. Some of the first shipments of trees went to markets in San Francisco.

“That was the first year, ’29,” said Mike Gogo, owner. “We were always wholesale, but about 35 years ago I decided to try this U-cut … so we put a network of roads in here – formerly we had cattle here – and the first year we had about 150 people and now we’re doing about 4,000. This last weekend, Saturday and Sunday, we sold 700 and something trees.”

Gogo’s grandfather, John Gogo, bought the property, about 162 hectares in size, in 1897 and raised mules he rented to Nanaimo’s coal mine operations. Logging and the sawmill started in the mid 1930s. About 40 hectares are dedicated to Christmas tree farming. Some of the tracked machines displayed along the farm’s driveway were purchased by his father in 1934.

Gogo’s Christmas Tree Farm supplies trees to various commercial markets, schools and churches and for people who can’t drive up to the farm, he has a pre-cut Christmas tree lot on Pryde Avenue in central Nanaimo.

“The biggest challenge is to get enough trees, because they don’t grow overnight,” he said, while touring the farm.

To improve production, Gogo has prepared fields and planted trees in rows to make them easier and faster to fertilize and prune.

“Five years ago there was nothing here. Just a humpy bumpy thing,” he said. “A friend of mine’s got a big Cat and I said go in here and make that just so,” Gogo said. “One thing we’ve got up here is rocks. It’s glacial till and we’ve got rocks till hell won’t have ‘em. Four times we picked them off with a big Cat and then I picked them off with a loader.”

About 30,000 trees, all in rows, grow behind the wooden sasquatch Gogo has named Old Harry S. Joe.

A yew tree that he estimates is about 400 years old stands among fields of foreign and domestic varieties of Christmas trees. Gogo stops by a distinctly blue noble fir.

“Look at the blue colour on this bugger. Isn’t that beautiful? I have not lost my enthusiasm for it,” said Gogo, 74. “The guy that invented pruning Christmas trees, I was a good friend of his. His name was [Bernard] Douglass. He lived in Hillsboro, Ore., and he was the guy, in 1956, decided that you could prune trees back to look nice. He also invented the barbless blackberry … he told me a lot of things. I wish I had listened to a few more because I’ve paid some big lessons by not listening to him exactly like I should, but I do now.”

RELATED: Only a real tree will do for Christmas centrepiece

Gogo’s trees, regardless of size or variety, are $30 each. Gogo supplies a handsaw and Swiss chocolates. The farm also sells Christmas wreaths and other Christmas-related items.

“That’s a good deal in this day and age because they’re wholesaling out of the States for $25 plus exchange, plus freight, so you won’t get an American tree up here – they’re a bunch of dried-out [expletive] anyhow – for under $40 Canadian,” Gogo said. “But you know what it’s all about with us is we make our money in lumber … and I don’t want anybody to not come out here because they’re not working or they’ve been on strike and stuff like that. In fact, anybody that hasn’t been working or a single mom or anything like that, if they want a tree just talk to Mike. He’ll give you a tree.”

Gogo’s Christmas Tree Farm is located at 2625 South Forks Rd. and the farm also runs a Christmas tree lot at 55 Pryde Ave.

For opening hours and other information, call 250-754-2276 or visit the farm’s Facebook page at https://bit.ly/2RmIw38.

RELATED: Nanaimo sawmill supplies wood for helicopter landing pads in wildfire fight



photos@nanaimobulletin.com
Like us on
Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Mike Gogo, owner of Gogo’s Christmas Tree Farm, located on South Forks Road, Nanaimo, shares a moment with Harry S. Joe, a carved wooden sasquatch families are likely to encounter when they arrive to search for their favourite Christmas trees. (CHRIS BUSH/The News Bulletin)

Just Posted

Ice chunk from truck crushes vehicle windshield near Nanaimo

None injured, but Nanaimo RCMP say fines for accumulations of ice and snow

Nanaimo theft victim confronts suspects with baseball bat

Nanaimo RCMP seek identity of two people alleged to have used a stolen credit card

VIU professor concerned about myths around insect apocalypse

Jasmine Janes’s work published in peer-reviewed journal BioScience

Clerk bruised, traumatized after armed robbery at Quarterway Liquor Store

Few details on male suspect in Wednesday incident, says Nanaimo RCMP

VIU Mariners teams back on home court

Volleyball, basketball teams hosting action all weekend at Vancouver Island University gym

Kids across Canada more at risk of hospitalization from flu this season: doctor

Dr. Theresa Tam said influenza B does not usually peak until February or later

BC Ferries hybrid ships arrive in Victoria on Saturday

The battery-operated vessels will take over smaller routes

Closed mills, housing surge support a positive forecast for lumber industries

B.C. lumber producers have closed mills accounting for 18% of province’s capacity, RBC report says

Good Samaritan pays part of rent for B.C. woman facing eviction in can-collecting dispute

Zora Hlevnjak, 76, supplements her pension by collecting cans and receiving public donations

Kelowna’s ‘Baby Mary’ finds biological parents after more than 30 years

Geneologist and DNA test helped her connect with her biological parents

Beefs & Bouquets, Jan. 16

To submit a beef or a bouquet to the Nanaimo News Bulletin, e-mail editor@nanaimobulletin.com

Kelowna hotel to award couples for baby-making with Nooner deal

The deal includes a free stay every Valentine’s Day for the next 18 years

One last blast of winter tonight for parts of the Island before temperatures on the rise

A snowfall warning is in effect Friday including east Vancouver Island.

‘Scariest boat ride of my life’: Passengers trapped by ice on rocky B.C. ferry sailing

The Nimpkish docked in Bella Coola on Jan.12 coated in a thick layer of ice

Most Read