Joseph and Marguerite Mannix of Indianapolis purchased two farms in Hamilton County in 1957, they had no idea that their four-year-old son, John Francis, would find his life’s work and enjoyment on this property. While growing up on the north side of Indianapolis, John, with his parents and sister, Marilynn, would spend every weekend working on “Jo-Mar Farms”.
Later as an adult, John earned his living here working on cars. But it was his personal vegetable garden that was always a source of pleasure and pride. Over the years, he began to cut back on the automotive work and pursue his interest in agriculture by rejuvenating an old orchard on the property. At the same time, he started researching, planning and planting a Christmas tree plantation. In 1988, he planted a large market garden and his first crop of asparagus. Soon, many people became familiar with Mannix Farms U-Pick Asparagus and John, the asparagus man. Meanwhile, John was carefully tending his Christmas tree plantation, patiently waiting for the first December that he could open his Christmas tree business. By 1994, the agriculture business of asparagus and Christmas trees were enjoying strong local support. John was pleased that all his hard work and attention to detail was paying off.
In January of 1995, John was diagnosed with cancer. Despite a fierce will to live and a courageous fight, he died in September of that year at the age of 42. His love of the land, commitment to quality, and respect for his customers remains a vital part of Mannix Farms to this day. For this reason, Mannix Farms continues its service in memory of John Mannix and for the glory of God.
Friends of John Mannix managed the production and sales of the Christmas Tree Farm until 2001, when the Stinn family took over ownership. This was quite an adventure for a young family of four. Each season brought new meaning as they learned about agriculture, the life-cycle of the evergreen tree, and starting a new business. Dreams were planted. Relationships were fostered, and growth happened. The Stinn children, Tyler and Rebecca were 10 and 8 years old at the time. They grew up learning about the Christmas tree industry, and were even dropped off daily by the school bus at the farm before school let out for Christmas break. Tyler and Rebecca grew -- and so did the trees! In the spring, the family planted seedlings by hand with a planting bar called a dibble. We fertilized, mowed the rows and mowed again. In the summer, we sheared the mature trees into the perfect cone shape, and mowed some more. In the fall, we prepared for the Christmas season.
Mannix Farms operated out of a large circus looking tent for seven years. The farm offered hay wagon rides and a bonfire in the field. Customers enjoyed hot apple cider, sugar cookies and music in the wreath lined tent. The full service tree care operation was in full gear and especially fun to watch when it was muddy or snowed. In 2008 we teamed up with Spencer Farm to take the customer experience to a new level. Spencer Farm concluded each year with pumpkin and mum patches at the end of October. It seemed a natural fit to follow that cycle by offering Mannix Farms Christmas trees, wreaths and garland out of Spencer Farm's country gift store and sweet shop.
In 2010 the Stinn's began planting seedlings on a small section of the Spencer property. We continued to plant until we filled five acres. The first year to harvest these trees was in 2017. It’s appropriate timing -- now that our children are grown, so are the trees! We still have day jobs, but look forward to the special time of year where we get to visit with and serve many customers who have become dear friends. Our family has loved the privilege of providing a unique experience for the tradition of selecting the perfect Christmas tree.