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Farm Stores in the Holiday Spirit
"We're in the holiday spirit. Big time," said Gayle Johnson, owner of the Apple Barn.
It's starting to look a lot like Christmas at central Illinois farm stores.
"For being a farm store, and a shop that's geared around a huge garden, and flowers, and everything, you might not know that for the way it looks right now. We're all decked out for Christmas," said Gail Adamski, owner of The Farm in Petersburg.
Adamski's store is in what was once a horse barn. She makes fresh wreaths and bouquets from holly and evergreen cuttings.
"Everybody loves fresh greenery. I mean, there's nothing like the smell of it, and we grow our own holly and white pine and cedar and juniper. We'll bundle these up and sell them as fresh bundles that you can tuck in around your house," said Adamski.
As you take a look around Adamski's store, you'll find dried flowers, potpourri she mixes herself and plenty of herbs.
"The cooking herbs are popular this time of year because everyone's in a cooking mood," said Adamski.
Like the workers at Chatham's Apple Barn.
"We have lots of homemade food: candy, fudge, peanut brittle. So all the homemade goodies that go with the holidays, we have them and we make it all fresh every day," Johnson said.
There's still plenty of apples from the orchard, and cider.
"We still press cider every week, so we'll still have cider all the way up until we close which is the 24th of December," Johnson said.
It's a store open for Christmas shopping up until the very last minute--just like Springfield's Cassens' Christmas Trees and Crafts.
Like Adamski, Dave Cassens turned his horse barn into a small store where he and his wife sell Christmas crafts, like hand-painted antique windows that came from an old farm house.
But what would Christmas gifts be without a tree to put them under?
"We have eastern white pines and scotch pine. Douglas, concolor, a white spruce," said Cassens.
Just to name a few.
And for these farm store owners, Christmas is more than just gifts, decorations, and food.
It's about giving people a true Christmas on the farm experience.
"Our philosophy has always been yes, we're in the Christmas tree selling business, but we're also here selling a family tradition," Cassens said.
"It's festive and it's fun," Adamski said.
"What a better way to spend a holiday as to making people happy," Johnson said.