The Indiana Department of Tourism has named the Dull Family Tree farm of Thorntown, Indiana as the Best Christmas Tree farm in the state. Nominees were recommended by members of Indiana’s travel, tourism, and hospitality industry. Tom and Kerry Dull have been growing and raising Christmas trees for over 20 years and have now been voted as the best in the state. Tom said it is their dedication to a quality experience that sets their operation apart, “We work very hard to make sure each visitor has a quality experience. We rely on word of mouth advertising, so want our customers to spread the word about us.”
The Dulls do more than just sell trees in December; they strive to make a visit to their farm an educational experience for those not familiar with agriculture. “I think that is something that we do that perhaps others do not,” said Tom. “We strive to help visitors understand where their food comes from.” The Dulls raise corn and other crops, and their farm dates back to the 19th century. “We are farmers and try and share that experience with visitors. We have a lot of old buildings and have set up a hay loft for kids to play in, just like I did when I was a kid, ” Tom said.
The Dulls are noted for the many innovative ideas and promotions they have brought to the farm. Dull’s is famous for their annual Newfoundland Dog Pull Day where families from throughout Indiana come to Dull’s to have their new Christmas tree delivered on a sleigh pulled by a Newfoundland dog. Dull’s Tree Farm also features a gift shop and a bed and breakfast, the Stone Cabin Inn. “Each year we sit down and ask what can we do differently next year,” noted Tom. He told HAT they try to view their farm from the point of view of the visitors.
With a son and daughter-in-law coming into the business, the Dulls have expanded into pumpkins that will bring visitors to the farm in October and November. Tom said 2015 was a very good year for his farm and for most Christmas tree growers. He said they sold out of trees in 2014 and ran out of parking spots even though they had doubled the size of their parking lot.
There are over 50 Christmas tree farms in Indiana. Booth’s Tree Farm (Orland) and Hensler Nursery (Evansville) were second and third in the rankings. Tourism is big business in Indiana. The tourism and hospitality industry is the sixth largest industry in the state (excluding government), is directly responsible for nearly 140,000 jobs, generates over $2.1 billion in tax receipts and contributes $10 billion in revenue to Indiana businesses.