“Some of the folks who come out with their kids can remember coming with their own parents when they were young,” says Martha Walters, who along with her husband, John, shares ownership of the farm with John’s brother, Greg, and his wife, Julie. “Parents watch their kids run through the fields and talk to ‘Toogie,’ our famous talking tree, just like they did when they were kids. That’s really what it’s all about.”
Great family environment! I Had a great time. Bring your kids and pick a tree, they will have an awesome experience with Toggie the talking Christmas tree and taking a ride on the wagon train!!! Too much fun!
-Christina S. (facebook)
First trip here and it was an awesome experience!! Greeted within seconds and felt like we were dealing with family! Everyone was so helpful and cheerful! Makes me miss living in the country !
-Robin W. (facebook)
Here, they do the whole Christmas tree experience right. It's a family run operation and that shows in the way they treat their customers. They answer all your questions, chat you up in a friendly way, and help you load up your tree once you pick one.
- Matty B. (yelp)
“I happened upon the property while I was looking for land to keep horses,” says Martha. She was attracted to the property’s large fenced paddock; the fact that it happened to include a house, a small pond, a gift shop, and acres and acres of trees was, shall we say, a Christmas bonus. “We called Greg and Julie and asked, ‘You want to own a Christmas tree farm?’ They said, ‘Sure,’ but I don’t think they took us seriously. A couple of weeks later Greg suggested we go and check out that property we were considering. We told him, ‘You’re too late. You said yes, and we’ve already signed the contract.’”
Toogoodoo is a full-force family affair, involving grandparents, parents, and all six kids, with the family dogs even tagging along. “Other than a few family friends who help during Christmas, we do it all ourselves, with no hired workers,” says Julie, with a hint of dirt-under-her-fingernails pride. She and Martha, former Ashley Hall schoolmates, are now tractor mates. Julie, a certified Master Gardener, lends her expertise as the farm’s horticulturist, tending to the humidity-happy funguses that can threaten the indigenous cedars and pines.
While the kids get to drive the tractors and help mow, all of them pitch in with the annual tree planting (3,000 seedlings each January). The dads, meanwhile, do the tree-trimming, stump-grinding, and tractor repair. They’ll also help with mowing—as much as their non-agrarian professions permit, anyway. In real life, John, a physician, is director of Emergency Services at Roper Hospital, and Greg, a pilot, flies for UPS and is a retired General in the South Carolina National Guard/Air Force Reserves.
And come late November, before the Walters’ Thanksgiving leftovers are even put away, all hands are on deck to help create the down-home (or down-farm) Toogoodoo spirit that loyal customers near and far equate with Christmas. Neil, an 8th grader at Charleston day steps up as the conductor of the Toogoodoo Choo-Choo, taking families for a tour of the property.
The third generation of Walters farmers, ages 13 to 20, take a break from their academic schedules, and various sports, to escort customers through the fields or take turns as the voice of Toogie. “I ask the little kids to feed me sticks, and they love it,” says 18-year-old Lizzy, Greg and Julie’s middle child.
We hope that at Toogoodoo, you feel like more than a customer, but a part of our family.