Many of the state’s approximately 500 Christmas tree growers will open for business this week, offering customers fresh Connecticut Grown trees that provide sustainable economic and environmental benefits as well as a memorable family activity.
“Connecticut’s Christmas tree growers work hard all year to prepare for this season, and they are looking forward to another great year,” Agriculture Commissioner Steven K. Reviczky said. “What better way to start the holiday celebration than by visiting one of our scenic farms to select a Connecticut Grown tree or wreath that is of the highest quality and freshness.”
Nearly 4,000 acres of Connecticut farmland are planted with Christmas trees – the 13th largest acreage in the U.S.
The Christmas tree industry in Connecticut has grown significantly in recent years and now contributes about $10 million in annual economic activity.
Kathy Kogut, Executive Director of the Connecticut Christmas Tree Growers Association, said the popularity of the choose-and-cut farm has helped renew the tradition of the entire family selecting and cutting a Christmas tree.
“It is a genuine family experience which can be continued generation to generation,” she said. “Much like other crops provide food for the body, the scent of a farm-grown Christmas tree provides food for the soul.”
Raising and harvesting Connecticut Grown Christmas trees and holiday greens also provides a number of environmental benefits, said Christopher Martin, Connecticut’s State Forester with the Dept. of Energy and Environmental Protection.
“Locally grown trees are truly a green way to celebrate the holiday season, benefitting the local economy and protecting the environment at the same time,” Martin said, noting that up to three new trees are planted for every one cut. “By purchasing locally-grown Christmas trees and holiday greens, Connecticut residents can have a direct influence on keeping forests as forest and farms as farms.”
Tree farms also offer drinking water protection and habitat for wildlife. Another plus is that real trees and greens are recyclable, as opposed to petroleum-based artificial ones that would otherwise be discarded, Martin said.
A listing and brochure of tree farms, including those belonging to the Connecticut Christmas Tree Growers Association, is available on the Dept. of Agriculture’s website www.Ctgrown.gov/trees
Customers are advised to call ahead to ensure a farm is open.