Wreathmaking has become tradition for a Wayne County family
In late October, the fields surrounding Four Oaks, North Carolina, are exploding with cotton. It’s almost the end of the crop’s season, marking a short lull for local farmers. But for the Sanderson family, things are just about to crank up.
The family owns and operates Sanderson Wreaths & Garland, a Wayne County business that began as a Christmas tree farm and has since transitioned to creating custom wreaths and garlands. The wreaths — sold year-round, including at the State Farmers Market in Raleigh — are crafted from cotton burrs, cotton bolls and corn shucks.
Christmastime at the Sanderson farm brings family, friends, and neighbors together to craft wreaths for the holidays.
If Christmas has a smell, it can be found in the wreath-making room at Sanderson Wreaths. In this wooden building on a farm in Wayne County, the fragrance isn’t the Johnny One-Note Yankee Candle kind. It’s the rich, deep aroma of Fraser fir, fresh magnolia, corn husks, cotton burrs, and cedar. It’s fall and winter, earth and frost, wood and needle.
It’s also really loud. Kari Sanderson Hobbs is using a clattering automatic garland machine, a wooden spool that binds bursting fronds of greenery into a slightly more ma...
Supporting Local Businesses During the Holidays | Homegrown | NC State University
As you go about your holiday planning and shopping this year, don’t forget about the many businesses and agribusinesses in North Carolina that make their living solely on locally produced and sourced materials.
In this On the Farm segment, the
Homegrown team visits Sanderson Wreaths in Four Oaks, N.C., to learn about how they are using local products from North Carolina farms to create beautiful works of art for your holiday.
There are many different ways to think about “buying local.” For Extension, local refers to supporting businesses where products...
We live in Wayne County, North Carolina, where my great-grandfather, E.K. Sanderson, and my grandfather, Joe Sanderson, grew cotton for a long time before the boll weevil came in.
People in our area got away from cotton for a while — but are now coming back to it. Today, my dad, Kenneth Sanderson, and my brother, Matt, run the farming operation, which is mostly row crops.
Some of my most memorable cotton moments happened when I was very young. My dad is very particular about the quality of his crops, so we had to spend a lot of time chopping cotton. That entailed us walking through each field with hoes in hand, searching for any p...
In the hectic weeks before Christmas, the Sanderson family “elves” rev into overdrive to fill orders for wreaths of all shapes and sizes. Mom, Vickey, arranges greenery and handles the business end of things. Dad, Kenneth, gathers magnolia branches and other natural items from the property.
Their son, Josh, rolls long stretches of garland, while his sister, Kari, creates bows, mantelpieces and other specialty items. Together, the siblings handle the website and online requests. On weekends, Kari’s twin sister Nicki, an attorney, helps sell the wares at the State Farmers Market in Raleigh, and her brother Matt, who helps Kenneth ru...
For more than 30 years now, the Sanderson family of Wayne County, N.C. has built a loyal following for the fresh wreaths and garland they make from the evergreen trees and cotton they grow on their family farm.
Kenneth and Vickey Sanderson, third generation farmers in Wayne County, got into the wreath business as a sideline to their Christmas tree business. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Christmas trees were an important part of the family’s farming operation, but after about 10 years, they got out of the Christmas tree farming and focused instead on custom-made wreaths.
“We don’t grow Christmas trees anymore, but we still have...