WRITTEN BY: SAMANTHA SHOVER | PILLAR OF FAMILY | ISSUE 09
Situated in the rolling hills of Staunton, Virginia, Francisco Farms stands as a testament to the timeless tradition of the Christmas tree. It’s here that the Francisco family has laid down roots that run as deep as the pines they cultivate. Bill Francisco, the farm’s steward, began his labor of love in the early ’70s, turning a tract of land into a winter wonderland for families seeking more than just a tree for the holidays.
“I started planting in ’73, and by ’79, we were selling trees,” Farmer Bill recounts. These early efforts blossomed into a beloved yuletide destination where the annual ritual of choosing the perfect tree is infused with laughter, storytelling, and the creation of lifelong memories.
It’s more than just a business; it’s a place where families come to make memories.”farmer bill
Bill reflects on the uniqueness of his farm, “And it wasn’t an industry that lots of people were in,” pointing out how this allowed him to create a special place for community and memories. The farm is a living album, where families come to find a tree and leave with cherished memories. “I love it, I absolutely love it,” Bill says, sharing how he’s seen children’s pure joy, especially during the pandemic, “They just ran and ran like puppies.”
Francisco Farms comes to life each December, as families bundled in scarves and mittens wander through rows of evergreens in search of the one tree that calls to them. “It’s a time when the farm truly comes alive,” Bill muses. Here, the Christmas tree is more than decor; it’s a symbol of unity and joy. The farm’s collection, dominated by sturdy white pines and stately Norway spruces, stands ready for families to make their selection, each cut a fresh memory carved into the fabric of their festive traditions.
Bill’s mission has always been about more than selling trees. “It’s more than just a business; it’s a place where families come to make memories,” he says. This sentiment was never clearer than during the hardships of COVID, when the simple freedom of being outdoors brought unparalleled joy to children’s faces. “Seeing the joy in the children’s faces, especially during COVID, was remarkable,” he reflects.
For many, the journey to Francisco Farms is a cherished tradition, a yearly pilgrimage that spans generations. The farm has become a backdrop for family photos, the scent of pine a trigger for nostalgia, and the act of choosing a tree an exercise in heritage and heart.
As Bill looks ahead, he knows the traditions he helped foster will outlast his tenure. “This year was my last year for planting,” he admits with a bittersweet tone. Yet there’s hope in his voice, a trust that the land will continue to serve as a canvas for holiday memories. “I hope the farm continues in some form. We’ve had people coming here for decades,” he says, envisioning future generations of families continuing to laugh and celebrate among the pines.
Bill’s story is one of dedication, not just to the trees he plants but to the joy they bring. As the holiday season approaches, Francisco Farms stands ready, a symbol of the enduring nature of tradition and the unyielding bond of family.
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