Member Profile: Johnny Wishon
With the Christmas season over, you might think the activity at Wishon Evergreens has slowed down.
“It’s a year-round thing when you’ve got 300,000 trees in the ground. If you think you’re caught up, you’re not looking hard enough,” says Alleghany County Farm Bureau member Johnny Wishon, who has raised Fraser firs for 25 years.
Wishon became interested in raising Christmas trees to help pay for his education at North Carolina State University. After graduating, he taught high school agriculture classes for 10 years while still tending to trees.
“It was something of a sideline business, but then it actually turned into full time,” says Wishon, who grew up and still lives in Sparta. “I had enough trees at that point to pay my mortgage so to speak. I always wanted to work for myself so I went into it full time.”
Wishon predominantly wholesales his trees when the harvesting begins in early November. He also sells fresh greenery for garland and wreaths mainly through mail-order sales through early December from his 300-acre spread.
“We’ve got the right elevation, the right moisture and growing conditions. The soil is just right for growing Fraser firs. We’re just in the perfect setting,” Wishon says.
And not just for the trees. Wishon also raises about 100 acres of gourds and pumpkins.
With his wife, Linda, and sons, Brad and Garrett, Wishon hopes the steady growth of his tree operation continues.
“My older son is starting to show some interest in the business,” Wishon says. “We’ll see if that’s something he wants to come back to or not. But I hope we’ll continue to be viable for 25-plus years so if either one or both of my boys want to come back to the business, it will be here for them.”