Father-daughter team embark on second season running Shea Tree Farm

Rob Ward and his daughter, Alana, have just begun their second season at the helm of Shea Tree Farm, a Christmas tree farm located in Marine City.

A sign welcome customers to Shea Tree Farm. After a 35-year career as the owner of several tool and dye shops across the region, retired Marine City resident Rob Ward says he never imagined going back into business, much less as the new owner of a Christmas tree farm.

Their journey into this unexpected venture began in August 2022 when Rob Ward purchased the business from its former owners Larry and Sheri Mitti who started Shea Tree Farm 18 years ago.

“The previous owners were selling, who we are also friends with, and my dad lives right across the street from the tree farm,” Alana Ward says. “They were going to subdivide it and have a subdivision there. So he bought it, and I run it.”

Pat Hunt helps shake and prepare trees at Shea Tree Farm for customers to take home.

Spanning 48 acres, several varieties of trees are grown on the property including Blue Spruce, Douglas Fir, Fraser Fir, Canaan Fir, and White Hills Pine.

“We just both kind of do what needs to be done,” Alana Ward says. “He takes care of the mowing and keeping the weeds down because, in the summer, it’s a lot. Then I’ll trim and fertilize the trees …It’s a lot of work and it’s tiring sometimes, I’m also a full-time mom, but I think it’s rewarding.”

While exploring the property, visitors can traverse Mistletoe Bridge, find Big Foot, meet the Grinch, or take a break by cozying up by the bonfire.

“Coming here, there’s music playing, and people are sitting out by the bonfire … it’s an experience,” Alana Ward says.

The Tomlinson family poses with their Christmas tree at Shea Tree Farm.

Customers can select and cut down a tree of their choice with tree shaking and wrapping services included for a flat rate of $80. A gift shop offers a variety of decorations and tree accessories including tree skirts, tree stands, stockings, and handmade wreaths.

Concessions are also available with popular offerings such as hot chocolate, hot dogs, and popcorn, as well as apple cider and donuts from Verellen Orchards in Romeo which Alana says is also owned by their family.

“People come out here and they enjoy coming out here,” Rob Ward says. “People having fun is my point. That’s probably one of the most fun things, for me, is that everybody that comes here, they’ve all got a good attitude.”

Alissa Lamorand (left), her daughter Lorelai (right), and foreign exchange student Isolda Bosch pose for a photo together after getting their Christmas tree from Shea Tree Farm.Chesterfield residents Alissa Lamorand and her daughter, Lorelai, visited Shea Tree Farm for the first time this year, accompanied by Isolda Bosch, a foreign exchange student from Spain staying with their family.

“This one was nearby and we like to support local businesses,” says Alissa Lamorand. “I prefer a real tree, we do multiple trees in our house, and we had to go with a smaller one this year because it’s going on the landing of our stairs because we have a puppy.”

Alana Ward says they are making plans to grow the business and introduce new opportunities at the tree farm. Among those plans is a partnership with Marine City’s TwoRivers Winery to offer beer and wine and they also hope to offer wreath-making classes and host flea markets during the summertime.  

“We’d like to do bigger things with it, but within time,” she says. “We have tons of ideas. We’re just doing it little by little as we go.”

Located at 6183 Shea Rd., Shea Tree Farm is open Friday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. until Christmas. For more information, visit their website at sheatreefarm.com.
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Liz Fredendall is a photojournalist and communications professional with nonprofit experience. During her free time, she enjoys reading and exploring the Blue Water Area with her husband Erick and their corgi, Nori. Contact Liz at editor@thekeelph.com or follow her on Instagram @lizfredendallphoto.