Hidden Spruce Christmas Tree Farm in Westport had no choice but to close early this year.

Lou Perry and his family took over the responsibilities of upholding the local legacy of what used to be Bristle Comb Farm. However, the drought, terrible growing conditions and even damage from deer caused a lot of issues for the farm this year.

Despite the challenges, it didn't stop the Perry family from continuing on the farm's legacy and trying their best this year.

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"Honestly, we had a great turnout, lots of response and we were shocked at how busy it was," Perry said. "We did two weekends last year, but only had enough trees for a single weekend this time around. A majority of the premium trees were gone. We didn't want to see the farm depleted, so we decided to close earlier than expected. We need to protect next year's crop. It was the right decision considering some of the smaller trees weren't quite matured yet."

Perry grew up just a mile up the road on the corner of Narrow Avenue and Sodom Road, where he would ride his bike to work for the original owner at the tree farm. Between 1992 and 1997, Perry helped harvest a large blueberry operation each summer and then took care of the Christmas trees in the winter.

"It was my early connection with this place," Perry said. "I always loved this place. It wasn't even a question when it came on the market. My wife was the one who pushed me to take it over. It was a crazy time in real estate and I just figured that it would be beyond our reach, but the connection with the owners and pure willingness to continue onward was the main decision."

Upon arrival, Perry was taken aback by how overgrown the property was and how rough the driveway was. Immediately, the goal was to restore the farm to its glory days.

I'll tell you firsthand that Perry has done just that. It's been a tradition in my family to tag and cut our trees from this specific farm and I've yet to miss a year.

"Overall, we have experienced an amazing amount of support from people, especially from the (Westport) Conservation Land Trust that was concerned with our original intentions. There is so much development going on, and we want people to know that this is going to stick around for a long time. We're just starting, but we do have plans for the farm in the future. "

As of now, Perry and his crew/family are simply making the most of it. They're enjoying providing families with not only Christmas trees but priceless memories.

"We have an unflexible amount of gratitude for the local area and repeat customers," Perry said. "In time ... we're hoping to have more trees, and more customers, and provide them with our sincere thanks. The support is what keeps us doing what we do and the overall response has been awesome."

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