Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Christmas Tree Farms
It is that time again - flocks of people from the flat lands drive into the High Country to buy their holiday trees from the abundant farms scattered throughout western North Carolina mountains.
This region is known for its Fraser Fir trees that grow only at elevations higher than 3000 feet. They are a dense evergreen with soft short flat needles, fragrant aroma and long lasting needles. It is true - I have had one up until past Valentines Day. I hated to take it down since it looked as good as new. I decorated it with heart garlands and Valentine cards and candy. My husband insisted that February was the latest it could stay up even though I had ideas of what to do for St. Pat's day!
Choose and cut signs dot the two lane roads, some offering hot cocoa or cider while you choose. Others have hayrides, sleigh rides and all sorts of festivities for the kids. I grew up in New England with tree farms around me there too. It was an ordeal but a fun one - picking a tree, cutting it down with a small hand saw and dragging it to the car, tying it on the roof and off you went. Here in North Carolina they do all of it for you. It begins the same way -you hike around the farm and choose a tree from the many perfect specimens. But once you do that your job is done. They escort you back to get your hot cocoa and then they head to your tree with a chain saw, cutting the trunk close to the ground. The workers pass it through their bundling machine wrapping it in a mesh plastic for easier transporting and then they haul it to and put it on your car for you. It think the new way takes the fun out of it!
This year is also the third time in four years that a North Carolina Christmas tree has graced the White House in DC. The chosen tree was a 23 year old Fraser Fir that stands 21.5 feet tall and is 12 feet wide. Some 30 other smaller trees will grace the Capitol buildings and this year all of them come from North Carolina.
So head on up to one the the Christmas tree farms this year and start a tradition that the kids will enjoy for years to come! For info about the closest tree farm to you check out www.ncchristmastrees.com. In Avery County go to www.averycountytrees.org.