LOS GATOS, Calif. - At the tippy top of a winding road in Los Gatos sits the Peacock Christmas Tree Farm.
It’s 34 acres filled with 45,000 trees, featuring dozens of varieties from sequoias to Douglas firs dotting the Santa Cruz Mountains just like real life ornaments. And most are ready to be cut down for Christmas.
Tree Farm owners Eric Hoffner and his wife, Lisa, are Silicon Valley transplants who fell in love with the mountain property in 1999. They went from techies to farmers overnight.
They’re not sorry.
“Everyone that comes up here is happy,” Lisa Hoffer said. “And where do you go these days where everyone is in a good mood?”
The farm is about fun and family. There are 20 seasonal employees and volunteers who flock back to Peacock every year to work the farm and the magic that it brings.
“You can’t make it up,” said volunteer Justina Davila. “ It’s like watching a Hallmark movie. You have to come up here and take part in it.”
Customers can’t wait for the tree farm to open each year.
“You come up here and you saw in the outdoors and pretend like you’re a lumberjack. We love it,” said customer John Rossman of Santa Cruz.
Judy Primavera of Santa Cruz has been a Peacock tree-buyer for over 20 years.
She and her husband, Carl, love the sense of community and the Hoffners’ personal touch.
“Do you leave with a little more Christmas spirit?” she asked. “Yes we do! Just sitting here watching the wind and trees. It’s really beautiful. The trees and property are gorgeous. So many to pick from that’s the hard part. Making up your mind. And Eric and Lisa are simply the best.”
Like they do every December, the Hoffners donate some of their proceeds. This year, the money will go torward Words & Deeds in honor of Ambassador Chris Stevens who died in Libya seven years ago. The funds will go towards scholarships for Middle Eastern Studies majors at UC Berkeley to students who are following in Stevens' footsteps. Eric Hoffner was fraternity brothers with Stevens at Berkeley and so was attorney Steve McDonald in San Francisco, who runs the non-profit.
The Hoffners feel it’s only fitting that Stevens is remembered this time of year as families make their annual trek through the Santa Cruz Mountains to the Peacock Christmas Tree Farm.
The tree farm is open until Christmas Eve. All the trees are $70.