Similar to our surrounding certified sustainable forest, our Christmas tree farm is managed and operated as a sustainable, socially and environmentally responsible farm.
- All cut trees are replaced by new seedlings
- Trees are locally grown for a local market
- Natural trees improve the environment by absorbing carbon dioxide and giving us back oxygen
- Our farm and forest are managed to encourage biodiversity and soil conservation
- Family owned and operated with 5 generations involved
- It's an opportunity for a wholesome family tradition--yours and ours!
In 1947 Carl and Erna Kroll sold their 5 acres near SeaTac Airport and purchased 100 acres between Kingston and Poulsbo. They named this beautiful property Sylvan Valley Farm and set about clearing the S.W. area. There were already a few acres cleared and an unfinished house, along with a few chicken houses and a very primitive barn. They soon settled on raspberries as their chief crop and over the years built the annual harvest up to nearly 10 thousand flats, employing a crew of 100, during the six week picking season.
In 1955 Henry Meybohm joined the Krolls as their partner. While the Krolls commuted from their West Seattle home every weekend, Henry took up residence on the farm and eventually built himself a small cabin.
In the late '70's Henry began to clear additional acreage to plant Christmas trees and the raspberry business slowly diminished as competition from California and several late frosts damaged the raspberry profits.
The Krolls retired from the raspberry business in 1979 and Henry continued on his own, slowly phasing out the raspberries and increasing the Christmas trees. Today, there are approximately 17 acres of Christmas trees nestled in amongst another 86 acres of forested land.
As of 2001, the Kroll's two sons, Carl and Detlev (who grew up picking raspberries) are once again taking an interest in the farm and are helping out. Detlev's wife, Gale and children Renate and Alden, as well as other family members are also involved and all plan to continue the Christmas tree farm into the foreseeable future.
Henry J. Meybohm was born in 1919 in Buxtehude, a small town in northern Germany. He was the only child in a family of modest means. Henry proved to be a gifted student, receiving scholarships to complete his 12 years of schooling and be eligible for further studies. Intending to put behind him the mandatory public works and military obligations before continuing his higher education, he soon became deeply involved as Germany went to war. He saw action in Poland and France, attended officer training and then joined the North African activities. Taken as prisoner of war in Africa, he was interned in eastern Canada. Here he had the opportunity to begin his university studies which he completed after the war in Bonn and Munich, eventually achieving his Doctor of Law degree.
Henry came to the USA in 1950, sponsored by an American businessman, (also an acquaintance of the Krollís), whom he had befriended on a vacation bicycle trip to the Isle of Capri. In the first year he worked in a bank in New York, and then the next year at the vacation resort in Delaware owned by his sponsor. Intending to see more of the US before settling down, Henry purchased a second-hand Packard with his savings and headed west, taking jobs where and when the money ran out. He manned a pipeline pump station in Wyoming one winter, held a few odd jobs in the Seattle area, then headed for Alaska where the best he could do at the time was a job on a gold dredge on the remote reaches of the Yukon River. Hearing that better jobs were now available, he and a friend fashioned a raft of logs and oil drums and floated back to Fairbanks and then eventually drove back to Seattle for the winter. On further trips to Alaska he worked on another pipeline, the Distant Early Warning Radar Line and a ski resort near Fairbanks.
While in Alaska he teamed up with renowned mountain climbers Fred Becky and Heinrich Harrer and others to climb Mt. McKinley from an as yet unclimbed side, a first, as well as three more firsts on other peaks in the area.
After his Alaska years, he settled here to join the Krolls as partner on the Sylvan Valley Farm to grow and harvest raspberries. in the late 1970ís, after the Krolls had retired from the farm, the raspberries were gradually replaced by Christmas trees - a farming operation now better known as Henry's Tree Farm.
Early in life, Henry had developed a taste for skiing and this, throughout his life, to age 80, remained almost his sole hobby and recreation. On a regular basis he was skiing the European Alps, the Cascades, the Rockies and later in the Canadian Rockies, where helicopters or cats took him to the best and most challenging snows imaginable. Occasional ventures in later years took him white-water boating to such places as the Grand Canyon and far off Ethiopia and Chile.
Henry never married and had hardly any contact with relatives, but on his many trips he easily befriended his fellow sports enthusiasts. With his education, his love and remarkable memory of historical events, and his awareness of world affairs, he enjoyed many a serious discussion.
By 2001, at age 82, health problems and age were beginning to catch up with him. He spent a few more years on the farm with progressively more help until in January of 2004 he moved to the German Retirement Home in Kirkland, Washington where he currently resides Ė comfortable and content with little regret that he no longer needs to work the fields.