Deck the halls with real, Virginia Grown trees this holiday season

christmas treeNothing says Christmas like a real, Virginia Grown evergreen tree. The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services reports the state’s growers are preparing an abundance of fresh, farm-grown trees for the holiday season.

To encourage consumers to choose a Virginia Grown tree, Governor Terry McAuliffe proclaims December as “Virginia Christmas Tree Month” in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Click here to view the Governor’s Proclamation.

Virginia farmers grow the most beautiful and fragrant pines, firs, cypresses, spruces and cedars,” said VDACS Commissioner Sandra J. Adams. “When you choose a Virginia Grown tree, you are purchasing a renewable, recyclable and natural product while supporting our farmers, local economy and the state’s largest industry—agriculture.”

Virginia has more than 500 Christmas tree farms located throughout the state. The Virginia Christmas tree industry ranks #7 in the U.S. by total trees harvested, #8 in the U.S. by total acres in production and #10 in the U.S. by number of operations with Christmas tree sales, according to 2012 U.S. Department of Agriculture statistics released in May 2014.

Most choose-and-cut farms open after Thanksgiving, but your search can begin now with the 2014 Virginia Grown Christmas Tree Guide. The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) has published the latest edition, which is available for free throughout the state. In addition, a searchable database of Virginia Christmas tree farms is available online at www.VirginiaGrown.com. Along with choose-and-cut and pre-cut trees, many farms also sell fresh-made wreaths, garlands, holiday greenery, roping, centerpieces and tree stands. Some offer special touches for a memorable family experience such as hot beverages, holiday treats, hayrides and Christmas shops.

Greg Lemmer of the Boys’ Home Tree Farm in Augusta County and president of the Virginia Christmas Tree Growers Association and Jackie Davis of Scott County, President of the Mount Rogers Area Christmas Tree Growers Association agree this is a great year for Virginia Christmas trees, with ideal growing conditions and well-timed rainfall. Freshness is an important feature of every locally grown tree. Fresh-cut trees retain their needles and stay fragrant longer than trees brought in from out of state, which may be cut as much as a month or more in advance.

Each year, many of the Commonwealth’s Christmas tree growers give back by participating in the Trees for Troops Program. Last year, Virginia farmers donated more than 1,200 Virginia Grown Christmas trees to military families.

Search for Virginia Christmas tree growers online at www.VirginiaGrown.com, on the Virginia Christmas Tree Growers website, www.virginiachristmastrees.org, and Mount Rogers Area Christmas Tree Growers website,www.mtrogersfraserfir.org. VDACS encourages consumers to call ahead to confirm availability and hours of operation.

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