From the issue Yule Go for It
Get all Norman Rockwell this holiday by gathering friends and family to cut your own Christmas tree. For 40 years the Castro Valley Christmas Tree Farm has been a holiday tradition. You won't find bounce houses or Santas singing "Ho, ho, ho" here; owner Paul Illingworth prides his operation on its simplicity. He and his crew plant between 6,000 and 12,000 trees each year, resulting in 12 acres of pesticide-free and beautifully groomed Douglas firs and Monterey pines (precut Noble firs are also available). At the farm entrance you'll be handed a saw and a map; then you're free to roam. Hop out of the car anywhere along the 2-mile dirt road, search up and down, and when you find the perfect tree, saw away! One thing: Be sure to leave a few branches on the stump so that a new tree will grow.
TIP: Keep the green going—visit Earth911.com to find a convenient location where your Christmas tree can be dropped off for recycling after the holidays.
To reach the tree farm follow I-580 East; take the Redwood Rd. exit and turn left (north) on Redwood Rd. Go 3 miles until you reach the farm. It is open Wednesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Douglas firs are $60.30, Monterey pines are $49.30, and precut Noble firs are $71.25. Dog-friendly!