Release from Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services:
Nothing says Christmas like a real, Virginia Grown evergreen tree. The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) reports the state’s growers are preparing an abundance of fresh, farm-grown trees for the holiday season.
Virginia’s Christmas tree growers rank among the top producers in the nation and make a positive contribution to the state’s economy. The Virginia Christmas Tree Growers Association estimates there are more than 7 million Christmas trees growing in more than 500 tree farms across the commonwealth.
Approximately 1 million trees are harvested and sold each year at a wholesale value of $30-40 million. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Virginia ranks No. 7 in the country in total trees harvested, No. 8 in total acres in production and No. 9 in number of operations with Christmas tree sales (up from No. 10 last year).
To acknowledge the work of Christmas tree farmers and the value of Christmas tree farming to the commonwealth’s agriculture industry, Governor McAuliffe proclaimed December as “Virginia Christmas Tree Month” and encourages consumers to choose Virginia-grown trees, wreaths, garlands and other decorations this holiday season.
The size of Christmas tree farms in Virginia range from less than 1 acre to as large as several hundred or even 1,000 acres. They are a valuable and aesthetically pleasing addition to the land and can be planted on barren slopes and difficult spots where other crops will not grow. Virginia’s rich soil and moderate climate are ideal for growing a wide variety of Christmas evergreen trees including white pine, Scotch pine, Norway spruce, blue spruce, Douglas fir and Fraser fir. For every Christmas tree harvested, another 2-3 seedlings are planted in its place.
Fresh Virginia-grown Christmas tree farms are located across the state and in easy driving distance of consumers in every region. Freshness is an important feature of every locally grown tree; they retain their needles and stay fragrant longer than trees brought in from out of state, which may have been cut a month or more in advance. Search for Virginia-grown Christmas tree growers online at 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.
The 2016 Virginia Grown Christmas Tree Guide is available at tourist centers and libraries across the commonwealth or contact VDACS for a copy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.