O Christmas Tree…

Have you brought a little bit of the outdoors in to help celebrate Christmas?  Are there multiple trees with different themes in different rooms?  How long do you leave them up?  If you’re like our family, your trees stay up until the needles start to drop and/or the neighbors start talking about you.  We cut our trees on a local farm each year and usually can’t bear to part with them before mid-January.  One year they came down in the beginning of February.

The VALOR fellows toured a Christmas tree operation in Grayson County in mid-November during our last seminar.  Matthew Phipps met our group early on a Sunday morning to walk us through the process of harvest, handling, storing and shipping fresh-cut Christmas trees at Bottomley Evergreens.  The Bottomley family’s operation has grown to become one of the largest shippers and suppliers in the United States.  We visited a farm where crews were cutting and wrapping trees for shipment to the warehouse.  At the warehouse, the trees were packed and labeled per customer spec.

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The harvest.

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A pretty spot on the farm.

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Trailer after trailer loaded with fresh trees ready for processing.

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Trees palletized, labeled and ready for shipment.

It was truly amazing to see the scale of the operation and the sheer volume of trees being processed.  It was also interesting to learn that the first trees were cut in late October!  Careful handling and storage ensures a product that families all across the country can enjoy throughout the Christmas holidays.

No matter if your tree becomes an old friend and stays well into the new year, or if you take it down on the 26th, Christmas trees add a lot of joy to the season.  What should you do with your tree when the season is over?  Virginia Cooperative Extension has a few ideas to responsibly dispose of your tree.  For interesting facts about the Christmas tree industry, check out the National Christmas Tree Association.

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