For Anton, Donna and son Erik Rustand, holly is a way of life all year long. Their "holly-days" began in 1974, when Anton and Donna were house hunting and fell in love with a neglected holly farm. Holly Hill Farm (HHF), located on top of beautiful Meadowbrook Hill in Mulino, Oregon, had 760 trees on seven and a half acres. Although Anton, a native of Norway, was a forester and Donna had training as a florist, they knew nothing about holly. The property was in such bad shape, the county agent told them, they'd have to cut all the limbs off the trunks and make the trees start over.
The hopeful holly farmers backed off from that drastic treatment and instead started single-handedly nursing their trees back to health, by spreading fertilizer and pruning sick and dead branches.
That first year they battled moles, gophers, mice, birds and berry vines. They brought in bee hives to help pollinate the trees. Lo and behold in 1975 their first harvest yielded eight tons of holly.
At one time Anton did some unique grafting of the holly trees. Seeing there were too many just green, he cut several trees to trunk line and started grafting. The end result was some awesome variegated holly trees.
During the years to come many things would come to pass. The Rustands moved back to Bend, Oregon in 1985, and continued to operate the holly farm in Mulino. Anton, who for three years was president of the Oregon Holly Growers Association, remains a busy retired working man in his holly orchard.
Donna, retired from her job as an elementary music specialist, stays busy playing the harp for the sick and dying. Erik, married to Annie, owns a contracting company, and is a pilot. They are busy with their little girls Holly, Grace, and Meredith. The love of holly trees and the love of family made Holly Hill Farm a dream come true for Anton and Donna and hopefully for generations to come.