[EDITOR'S NOTE — Each week, this feature section, “Movers and Makers,” will feature the stories of the movers, launchers, entrepreneurs and makers who contribute to the vitality of the Mahoning Valley. This section is supported by our first community partner, Farmers National Bank. If you are interested in being our next community partner, contact Mark Eckert at email@example.com.]
POLAND — For Jon and Tara Fodor, Christmas trees are an unwavering constant in a world changed by social media and technology.
"If you think of our grandparents and grandparents' parents, they would be blindsided to see the technology, the texting, everything completely different," Jon said.
"But this has stayed the same," his wife, Tara, said.
Jon and Tara play a part in maintaining that tradition with their Christmas tree farm at 1606 E. Western Reserve Road in Poland.
Growing Christmas trees was a side hustle Jon's father started in the 1960s. The couple took over the enterprise in 2009 and live in the beautiful farmhouse that belonged to Jon's family. Tara makes holiday wreaths and even teaches wreath-making classes.
They also grow flowers on their 10-acre farm and do flower arrangements for weddings.
Each year, the Fodors start selling trees on Black Friday.
"We're all about tradition, the two of us," Jon said. "I think we both have old souls."
This season, the Fodors will sell about 500 trees that have been growing for seven to nine years. They grow Norway and Colorado blue spruce and fraser, concolor and canaan fir trees.
Customers can cut down their own trees or choose from a selection of precut trees.
"I have a poor memory, but I'll be like, 'How was your concolor fir last year?' Because I'll know it was the first they switched from something," Jon said.
The Saunders family trekked to Fodor Tree Farm to select their Christmas tree Friday. It was their first time at Fodor Tree Farm, but they typically cut down a tree each year as a family.
"It's something we all do together. They're all getting older now," Gina Saunders said, gesturing at her three children, Zach, 14, Gabe, 17, and Olivia, 20.
"My daughter is in college now, so we do this when we can," Gina said.
Growing Christmas trees is a tradition that connects the Fodor family, too. Their extended family comes into town for Thanksgiving and helps Jon and Tara prepare to sell trees.
"We typically send a tree back with my mom to Nashville," Tara said. "A tree goes to Pennsylvania to my other family."
Jon and Tara look forward to involving their youngsters in the process.
Jon got a text Friday from Tara's cousin, who had just moved to California. It said, "I went and bought a real Christmas tree, and it just wasn't the same."
Fodor Tree Farm is open from noon to 5 p.m. on weekdays and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends. It closes for the season Dec. 23.