Smith: Pennsylvania farmer and York County Farm Bureau member Karen Doyle grows Christmas trees on 50 acres of her 115-acre farm. Her family has grown Christmas trees for 24 years and they love helping families celebrate their holiday traditions. The Doyles enjoy listening to families talk to each other as they go from row to row trying to find the perfect tree.
Doyle: Put your mitten on this tree and let’s come back to it, something like that, and then they forget where they were. It’s just so much fun listening to them trying to pick their perfect tree for their house. They get the kids involved. It’s a great family event.
Smith: Doyle says raising Christmas trees reminds her and her family that the holidays are all about families spending time together. It’s a special family experience that isn’t found at any other time of the year.
Doyle: It helps us to remember the families that come together and celebrate the holidays together. A lot of families don’t want to cut their trees down until the kids come home from school. It’s just a family event. What we try to do here on the farm is create an experience, an experience for families. Christmas is definitely that joy.
Smith: Oregon farmer and Wasco County Farm Bureau member Fritz Ellet operates a small, family-owned farm that specializes in growing Christmas trees. He calls it a labor of love because trees take eight to ten years to get to market. His favorite part of Christmas tree farming is when people come out to cut their own trees.
Ellet: Where you’re interacting with customers and the public, and they’re showing up and they’re in a good mood, they’re happy. In our case, a lot of these are returning customers and, as long as we’ve been at it, you’ve got third-and-fourth-generations of the same family returning.
Smith: Ellet says an important part of his job is educating consumers about the benefits of a real Christmas tree.
Ellet: Part of my job is to educate people on what we’re doing out here, the natural benefits of a Christmas tree, and trying to convince them that it’s better to come out here and buy a tree. You can create these traditions and memories and great feelings with your family. You’re also helping the environment, avoiding another artificial Christmas tree that someday is going to end up in the landfill.
Smith: Chad Smith, Washington.