November 2022 Experience the magic of the holidays at Dull’s Tree Farm this season. After the Dulls received an outpouring of support from the Boone County community and beyond when a fire destroyed 60 percent of the Dull’s new low ropes course, I thought it would be appropriate to highlight this remarkable family and what makes their tree farm a treasure within our county. Meet the Dull Family Tom and Kerry Dull’s fascinating story began in the Netherlands where the two met as cultural exchange students while in college. Tom graduated from Purdue University and Kerry from the University of Nebraska. Tom shared that the “spark” that developed in the Netherlands grew into a marriage in 1982. The Dull’s journey led them to purchasing their historic 1800s Boone County farmstead, and their passion for the tradition of picking out a live Christmas tree compelled them to try growing Christmas trees on their property in 1985. They planted 200 Scotch pines and sold their first trees in 1993. “We soon discovered the Indiana Christmas Tree Growers Association and joined that group,” Tom Dull shared. “We started learning from them and now, we’re the ‘old pros’ and are sharing information with the newcomers. When we sold our first trees, we thought if we sold 100 , we’d consider it a success. When we sold 200 trees, we thought, ‘Maybe we’re on to something here.’ So, we planted 200 trees that first year, 500 the year after, 1,000 the year after that and continued to grow our business. We just kept planting and used up all the ground that we had. Now, we have 60 acres in just Christmas trees and plant between 8,500 to 9,000 trees every spring.” The Dulls plant their Christmas trees as bare root seedlings and grow them for another 7 to 8 years, so by the time one of their trees is displayed in your living room, it is actually 10 to 11 years old. A Family Endeavor Dull’s Tree Farm has expanded its offerings over the years and is owned and operated by members of the Dull family. In the fall of 2013, the Dulls’ son, Lucas, left a job as an engineer to pursue his passion for agritourism. Lucas and his wife, Dana, have joined the farming operation full-time and have grown the family business by adding Dull’s Pumpkin Harvest that boasts u-pick pumpkins, a corn maze and several other family-friendly entertainment components for folks to enjoy throughout the month of October. “We have a daughter, Erin, who is 2 years older than Lucas, and she went to school and graduated with a physical therapy degree,” Dull proudly shared. “She is here on the farm part-time and is our events manager. So, it is truly a family affair, and we also bring in a lot of retirees who want a part-time job and who really like being here.” Dull shared that during their pumpkin and Christmas tree seasons, the farm employs upwards of 120 people. A Place for Respite and Retreats During our conversation, Dull shared that he’s had a fascination with log cabins since childhood and as a result, he has salvaged two genuine log cabins from other properties and reconstructed them on his property. Upon procuring the second cabin, Dull fashioned both into one spectacular structure. The Dulls rent their cabin out as a bed and breakfast as well as a meeting space for people looking for respite or to rent for special retreats. It’s not too far of a drive but is removed from the hustle and bustle of town and is smack in the middle of nature. There is a commercial kitchen on the premise. and Kerry handles all of the farm’s catering for their guests. Tom created an extraordinary literal waterfall shower feature in the cabin that is one of the most popular features. Grateful for the Community Dull spoke about the outpouring of support after the fire on their property and how they were able to rebuild their low ropes feature so that kids and guests could enjoy it this fall. Dull also thanked the Thorntown/Sugar Creek Fire Department and the Lebanon Fire Department for responding to their property in 13 minutes once the 911 call was placed. “The support from the community was overwhelming,” Dull expressed. “We had all kinds of emails and phone messages and things from people who said they wanted to help. So, one Sunday afternoon, after the insurance company had released , we put it out there that this was going to be the day that we were going to tear down, and we had people — volunteer laborers — from the community show up with equipment, and we cleaned it up and got it ready for the rebuild.” For a complete list of hours and events at Dull’s Tree Farm, visit dullstreefarm.com, and be sure to follow them on social media via Facebook and Instagram.