Deck the halls with a Virginia-grown Christmas tree
Despite a year of wet weather, Christmas tree hunters can expect to find a good selection of fresh evergreens.
John Carroll, vice president of the Virginia Christmas Tree Growers Association, grows five varieties of Christmas trees at Claybrooke Christmas Tree Farm, a choose-and-cut operation in Louisa County.
“It has been a challenge with the wet weather, saturated soils, localized flooding and scheduling field work. The good news is growth and color on our trees is the best we’ve had in years. Our customers will be buying very fresh, well-hydrated trees,” Carroll remarked.
Virginia’s Christmas tree growers rank among the top producers in the nation, and harvest sales contribute approximately $7.5 million to the state’s economy, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service.
Carroll’s farm has been in operation for more than 30 years and has been increasing production over the past five.
“Some of the tree farms in our market area have scaled back or retired, so we are experiencing a significant increase in sales. This, combined with a movement that favors locally produced fresh farm products, (has led to) brisk sales the last few years,” Carroll added.
Virginians have ready access to many varieties of fresh, locally grown Christmas trees, noted Tony Banks, a commodity marketing specialist for Virginia Farm Bureau Federation, “Whether we want the experience of visiting a pick-and-cut tree farm or the convenience of selecting a tree at a local retailer, we can count on having a variety of tree types, shapes and sizes to match with our holiday decorating needs.”
In addition, purchasing a Virginia tree supports local agriculture and contributes to a healthy environment.
“Real Christmas trees are grown on farms like any other crop, so they’re renewable. Often, they’re grown on soils not suitable for other crops and can provide soil stabilization and cover for wildlife,” Banks noted.
According to the VCTGA, more than 7 million Christmas trees grow in Virginia, and the top-selling varieties are the balsam, Douglas and Fraser firs, as well as Scotch, Virginia and white pines.
Christmas tree farms preserve green space, and each acre provides daily oxygen for 18 people, the association notes on its website.