Harmony for the Holidays!

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I find one of the best ways for me to regain peace and harmony at my house is to get everyone outside! Getting unplugged and exploring nature in “3D” always reminds me of all the marvels that bring me joy. This is getting to be the perfect time of year to do that in western NC. Whether your passion is trail hiking or holiday tree hunting you are in the right place.

Now that the colorful fall leaves have come and pretty much gone, the woodlands look completely different. Light penetrates through bare branches and I see things up close that I never noticed before. Distance views take on a whole new meaning revealing places where folks live and work in the community that I had no idea were there.

The tradition of a family outing to a choose and cut Christmas Tree farm is alive and well here. In Jackson County our Christmas Tree farms are getting ready to help families spread the joy with a great holiday experience. The thrill of the hunt for that perfect tree, with the unmistakable scent of the Fraser fir in the crisp outdoor air and kids of all ages blowing off steam and making merry.Christmas Tree Farm

Memories are made from the search, to the cutting, to the trip taking home the prize and getting it all decked out. Sometimes complete with hot cocoa! Even recycling these biodegradable trees at the end of season to help the wildlife or to be reused for mulch is a family occasion. It’s all part of the adventure. For every real Christmas tree farmers harvest, they plant at least one new tree, caring for it until the right time for it to bring joy to another family.

Each real tree’s own journey takes 7 to 12 years because they’re grown — not manufactured. The average 6-7 foot Fraser fir Christmas tree has been visited by the grower more than 100 times during its life. That care means that each tree is unique. Part of the joy of each Christmas is finding your family’s special tree and knowing that it  will be perfect — and perfectly different — every time. 

Like other crops, real Christmas trees are grown to be harvested, just like pumpkins for Halloween or lettuce and tomatoes for salad. It’s the business of farming. In this case it’s farming trees. Agriculture and agribusiness account for 1/6th of the state’s income and employment. Over $95.9 billion of the $592 billion of our gross state product, is contributed by the food, fiber, and forestry industries. The top 5 Christmas tree producing counties in NC are Ashe, Avery, Alleghany, Watauga, and Jackson.

To find out more about educational programming regarding our local natural experience opportunities, local agriculture including Christmas Trees, or learning about the upcoming Evergreen ID Through Wreath Making with natural materials classes in our Garden Life series, contact me at minda_daughtry@ncsu.edu or call our office at 828-586-4009.