Interview with Julie Bystrom.
What do you do?
We plant, cultivate and grow Christmas trees to sell to wholesalers and retailers.
How did Bystrom and Sandberg Tree Farm get started?
Dale Bystrom and Don Sandberg started out as friends over 60 years ago when they met as kindergarten classmates in Molalla. Later on in 1980 the business itself started out local there with Dale at the helm, who then asked Don to join the team. It was a slow evolution, with trial and error like anything else. At first we were buying trees and taking them to other markets, and eventually we began planting and growing our own to sell.
What is unique about Bystrom and Sandberg compared to other tree farms?
We have always been committed to staying small and remaining hands-on from planting to harvest. Every step of the process has always been personally supervised by Dale or Don, and this helps us maintain the best quality. Customer service is our first priority.
What kinds of Christmas trees do you sell and which are your top three best sellers?
We sell Noble, Douglas, Grand Fir and Nordman trees and our top three best sellers are the Noble, Douglas and Grand Fir in that order.
What inspires you to keep doing what you do?
There’s a sense of independence in taking a seedling and creating a product enjoyed by families. It’s a very rewarding experience.
What’s your biggest challenge from year to year?
Markets fluctuate; there are periods where everyone is planting on every spare piece of land and others where people are giving away trees to everyone. Growing a Christmas tree is a 7-8 year process and it’s hard to predict what you’ll be facing down the road.
What’s your favorite type of Christmas tree?
My favorite type of Christmas tree is the Grand Fir because it has the best smell!
What’s your favorite Christmas memory from growing up?
I remember bringing a plate of Christmas food to a pony we had when I was a child. It ate the rolls and the butter, everything but the turkey! Dale’s favorite Christmases were grade school Christmases because he could indulge and eat more food. When he was in high school he was a wrestler and had to maintain a wrestling weight.
What are some interesting facts about your team?
Dale was a horseshoer for 30 years and an Oregon State Fair farrier for many years during that time. At the fair he worked on many different classes of show horses. Both Dale and Don served their country; Don is a Vietnam War veteran and remains close friends with his Seabees to this day. Don also likes to travel and enjoys restoring classic cars.
Is there anything else people should know about Bystrom and Sandberg?
We have no bad trees.
To learn more about Bystrom and Sandberg Trees, visit their website at www.bandstrees.com.