For many families the Christmas season is highlighted by the purchase of their Christmas tree.
The smell of fresh cut pine engulfs you as you step out of your car and into the Christmas tree forest. For many, stepping into that forest brings back a whole host of wonderful holiday memories.
In Bridgehampton on Route 27 and Lockwood, there is a Santa Claus waving to cars in front of the Small Potato Nursery at a location which has been selling the traditional Christmas tree during the holiday season for 30 years. The trees sold there are actually selected by owner Elizabeth Linker in Nova Scotia personally every year.
Elizabeth takes time out from managing her Hamptons businesses to drive all the way up to Canada because she wants to have a highest quality of Christmas tree. The selection consists of either Nova Scotia Fir or Fraser Fir. Elizabeth predicts around 1,000 tress will be sold during the holiday season, “or there abouts.”
The breakdown is about 650 cut trees to about 350 planted trees. Prices for cut trees range from $20 a tree, to a 17-foot Fraser Fir selling at $225 cut, delivered and installed. Elizabeth has owned the Small Potato Nursery now for the last 16 years and prides herself on doing a great job picking great trees. Besides the plentiful and varied sizes of cut trees, there is a fine selection of pine trees to be planted. A planted 10-foot Norway Spruce would run around $630.
Besides the Christmas trees, Small Potato also sells Christmas wreaths, garlands and Paper Whites. Ms. Linker made a point of showing some lovely Star of Bethlehem that is cut fresh, only comes from Israel and only can be bought this time of year. Elizabeth beamed with pride when she said, “My dad use to bring them home to my mom on Christmas Eve.”
The Winter Berry or ilex, a traditional favorite to many is also in good supply.
Elizabeth credits her husband, saying point blank, “I couldn’t do all this without my husband Bob Linker’s support.” The Linkers own a few other nursery businesses in the Hamptons, such as Irony in Bridgehampton/Sag Harbor, Hedges and Gardens in East Hampton and Hamptons Greens Keeper in Wainscott.
Friendly, knowledgeable, and loyal company secretary Craig Kitt once helped the Linker’s load a 140foot Fraser Fir for their home. He went out of his way to emphasize that that is not a chore he normally does but was proud that he helped with the big tree. After all 14 feet is 4 feet higher than the basket on a basketball court. “But next year, I want to go with 17-footer,” Elizabeth said as she pointed to the prize tree standing tall above all the rest. Elizabeth brought me around the yard to show that the trees this year are “the best trees ever!” They were all thickly branched and healthy looking. Sales are ahead of last year and are very strong. “It is important to have more trees than you can sell so that everyone no matter when they are buying has a selection,” she explained.
It was Elizabeth’s idea to have a Santa out on Montauk Highway waving to every passing car. Over the last 16 years seven different men have had the honors with “Oscar,” doing the magical chore a few years back. With wonderful Christmas music beaming from the speakers around the yards loyal customers carry on the tradition.
Because both Bob and Elizabeth are very much involved and active in the local going green movement, in fact their home has some solar heating and some of their commercial buildings have been converted. The loyal annual customers come from as far as Brookhaven and many have made a visit to Small Potato Nursery a Christmas tradition every year. They are open seven days a week during the whole holiday season from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. and Elizabeth does entertain calls at 631-537-3607 for inquiries.
So the next time you drive by that famous Santa Claus waving to every one know that he is standing guard to some of the best Christmas trees for sale in the Hamptons and wave back to Oscar, this years hard working Santa at Small Potato Nursery.