12/19/2013 10:33:00 AM From meat cutter to tree cutter, Enzenauer now has 14,000 trees
by Ken Haggerty
When Scott Enzenauer first moved to the Cannon Falls in the 1980s area with his wife, Donna, it was for a job cutting meat at the Super Valu store (now EconoFoods).
Now, he's better known for cutting Christmas trees.
Enzenauer, who had grown up on a farm near Waseca, bought a 20-acre hobby farm on 420th Street near the intersection of Goodhue County Roads 8 and 1, south of Wastedo.
The fields on the farm were too small for efficient row-crop or pasture, so he told his wife he was going to try raising Christmas trees on about 17 acres of the farm. He had no real experience or knowledge and went to the library to research how to best do it. He says he told Donna if it doesn't work, we'll at least have a nice woods.
In 1991, seedlings went in. They waited for growth and started selling trees in 1998. Business was fun and good at the cut-your-own or buy a fresh-cut operation, so a cute little gift shop was built on the farm in 2002 to sell tree trimmings and other Holiday gifts.
In 2004, a pole barn was added to shelter the cut trees, and homemade wreaths, crosses and swags. The barn also provides a place for storing saws and other equipment. On busy weekends from after Thanksgiving to Christmas, the farm often has Santa on-site, wagon rides, music, a campfire and other entertainment to make for a fun family outing.
Today, the Enzenauers have about 14,000 trees in various stages of growth, with about 1,000 sold annually. They also sell nursery stock.
Scott left his job as meat department manager after about a decade and has been with Cannon Equipment in Cannon Falls since. He works in the sample department with engineers doing research and development work. Donna, originally from Waterville, has had jobs in Cannon Falls with First National, Super Valu, and Rapp's. She is also the treasurer for Wanamingo Township.
A son, Jeremy, a 2010 Kenyon-Wanamingo High school graduate is now at the University of North Dakota but helps out on weekends when he can make it home. He also helps in the summer, when every tree over three feet gets sheared. Other work during the growing season includes controlling aphids and other pests, spraying colorant on pines that tend to brown, mowing and constant weed control.
The Enzenauers say the Wanamingo black-clay is a heavy soil that holds moisture well. Some fields were tiled this last year to help with drainage. A 19 inch wet snow fall in May last year was tough on many trees and a late frost after buds have broken dormancy in the spring is always a fear, they say. A June hail storm is another risk and problem they worry about and have encountered.
The work keeps them busy after work and throughout the Holiday weekends, but they say it's fun. "It's great to see parents come out with their kids and have a great day," said Scott. He enjoys watching them grow up over the years. Children he remembers being pulled on a sled by their parents are now coming to the farm with their own babies.
On a recent weekend, they had customers from Prior Lake, Austin, Claremont and North Dakota, although most customers are local.
Trees sell from $30 to $100 depending on size, variety and condition. They carry long needle pines and short needle firs and spruces. They also provide shaking and baling.