Large farms in the Pacific Northwest are slowly fading away. One reason might be due to population growth and the need for more homes. Another might be due to local regulations, or potentially a lack of interest.

But one farming family knows the importance of these farms, which is why Kristi Scholz-O’Leary quit practicing law to move back to the farm. Her family started farming in the Puyallup Valley over 100 years ago.

Snowshoe Evergreen, Inc. is a Christmas tree farm in Pierce County, but they farm roughly 600 acres in King, Pierce, and Thurston counties. They start by growing seedlings and eventually sell those young trees to U-Cut type tree farms where locals can gather and cut down their own tree every year.

Scholz-O’Leary said her parents won a national Christmas tree contest in 1982, which allowed them to deliver a Christmas tree to the White House for President Reagan. 

“It actually happened in the state of Washington, and mom and dad were one of the first to do that,” she said.

Snowshoe Evergreen - Christmas tree White House 1983
Snowshoe Evergreen delivers a Christmas tree to the White House in 1983.
Courtesy Kristi Scholz-O’Leary

Scholz-O’Leary is the fifth generation to farm the land. She hopes her daughter will take the reins next and be the sixth generation.

As property prices continue to increase, it makes it more difficult for these large farms to succeed.

Learn something, feel something, do something. Watch Take 5 at 4 p.m. weekdays on KING 5 or streaming live on KING5.com. Connect with the Take 5 team in the 5 Hive, on Instagram and Twitter.