SOUTHOLD, New York -- When it comes to farming Christmas trees on Long Island, Ed Dart likes to keep it fresh and fun with his creative ideas on his farm.
Dart's farm has been in his family for over 100 years, but in 1967, while preparing for his first year at the University of Rhode Island, he pitched his parents the idea of raising Christmas trees on the property - and a family business was born.
Fifty-one years later, Dart, who is now the owner, placed a colorful twist on that business by coloring real trees to create "The Magic Color Forest."
"It's more than just a place to get a Christmas tree," Dart said. "It's a place to spend an afternoon, to have some fun, and be part of the holiday season."
Visitors exploring the colorful forest can find trees painted in the colors pink, purple (actually called sugarplum), blue, aqua, and white. Dart likes to say magic elves transform the trees at night, but it's really Dart, spraying the trees with commercial colorant.
"This year pink, white, and purple have been the most popular," Dart said. "I was thinking they might like those lighter colors because people are looking for an uplifting presence."
The farm keeps a rainbow-tree area that can be visited year-round, and the magical forest rose to popularity when customers discovered the trees on Instagram.
"It's not exactly glamorous, but the result is interesting," Dart said of his festive forest.
In addition to the colorful Christmas trees, families looking for a more traditional tree can find Fraser firs in a wide array of sizes.
Even though Dart's farm is sold out of Christmas trees for the season, visitors can explore the 18th-century barn, where homemade wreaths, garlands, and Christmas decor are for sale.
"This year has been so upside down," said Missie Distefano, a customer. "This is something that you can actually do. There has been so much stuff that we cannot do, so getting a tree and doing it yourself, is a little bit of freedom. A yes in a world full of nos."
Contact Community Journalist Alex Ciccarone