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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Holiday Shopping: Trees at the Edge of the Earth

Posted By on Tue, Dec 17, 2013 at 12:05 PM

click to enlarge mamatrees1.jpg

Sometimes the best places to buy things are also the hardest places to find. This is the case with Mountain Mama's Christmas Trees.

A Google search turns up no website for the business; their Facebook page hasn't been updated since 2012, and the phone number listed on Yelp leads to a friendly voicemail, but no mention of Christmas, or trees. And if that isn't enough to dissuade the average tree shopper, the place is all the way out at Ocean Beach -- on the western edge of the Outer Sunset.

But an in-person visit to Mountain Mama's reveals a laid back Christmas tree lot, with an Ocean Beach vibe, and an Outer Sunset price.

See also: Holiday Shopping: Contortionist Bends Genres, Releases Christmas Album Holiday Shopping: Miracle on Polk Street

"It actually started as a dare," said Alexis Davies, who runs the tree lot with long-time friends Danny Dufficy and Marty Magnusen.

At the time, they were living in a building next door and noticed the lot was empty. Someone randomly came up with the idea of selling Christmas trees for the holidays, and the landlord agreed to let them give it a try. That was four years ago. The friends have since moved out of the building, but come back each year for the tree sale, which has grown into a neighborhood event.

"We have kind of the same crew every year," Davies said. "We basically just staff it with surfers, which works really well because we get a lot of girls that come in."

In addition to the fit and enthusiastic help, customers also love the animal-friendly policy at Mountain Mama's. The lot has an adorable "tree mascot," in the form of a dog named Goo, and the staff keeps a ready supply of Pup-Peroni dog treats on hand. They also donate 10 percent of the season's proceeds to the SPCA.

click to enlarge mamatrees2.jpg

As for the trees, the lot stocks Douglas firs and Nobles. This year it's mostly Nobles, a result of the dry season, Davies said.

The prices are reasonable. Mountain Mama's charges $10 per foot, regardless of the type of tree. Davies said this was a standard price, but it's cheaper than some of their more popular competitors, one of which charged a certain SF Weekly writer quite a bit more than $10 per foot.

Anyone reading this who would prefer not to be overcharged, still has time to head to Mountain Mama's. The trees are affordable, the dogs are cute and the assistants are tall.

"It's a lot of fun," Davies said. "We look forward to it every year."

click to enlarge mamatrees3.jpg

Mountain Mama's Christmas Trees is on Moraga Street at 48th Avenue.

For events in San Francisco this week and beyond, check out our calendar section. Follow us on Twitter at @ExhibitionistSF and like us on Facebook.

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Devin Holt

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