Founded in 1955 by brothers Calvin & George Frelk, Northern Family Farms (formerly Northern Christmas Trees & Nursery) began as a wholesale Christmas tree company. Both brothers lived in Illinois and ran an additional operation there growing tomatoes and asparagus for Campbell Soup.
As both businesses grew, the Frelk brothers split the business in 1972. Cal and his wife Arlene took over the growing operation in Wisconsin and George and his family stayed in Illinois. In 1979, Cal and Arlene’s daughter and son-in-law, Ginger and John Ahl, entered the business. They brought a fresh perspective to the farm. John saw the nursery industry as an opportunity to rapidly expand into other farming operations.
Northern was one of the first growers in the Midwest to plant trees pot-in-pot. With over two decades of experience, we are now one of the largest pot-in-pot producers in the Midwest utilizing drip irrigation and fertigation. Northern’s nursery operates on over 400 acres and produces container grown shade, fruit and ornamental trees, hardy shrub roses, small fruits, shrubs, evergreens and perennials.