Despite Shortages Elsewhere, Vermont Christmas Tree Growers Say Local Supplies Are Strong

Sellers in some parts of the country have had a hard time getting their hands on natural trees, but it doesn’t appear that’s the case in Vermont

Despite national reports of a shortage of real Christmas trees in other parts of the country, Vermont tree growers and sellers say there should be no trouble finding a natural tree here.

"There's just not enough Christmas trees to go around," Austin, Texas, tree seller Jimmy Coan told NBC affiliate KXAN-TV, describing the trouble he’s had securing trees for his lots.

Coan said he couldn’t get enough trees because the wholesalers in the Pacific Northwest he’s bought from before either planted fewer trees eight or nine years ago during the recession, or went out of business when demand was down.

"We're seeing the repercussions of trees not going into the ground," Coan said.

Back in Vermont, several growers and sellers told necn they have plenty of fresh-cut trees to serve the local demand.

"There’s no shortages at all," tree and wreath seller Louise Roy said of her offerings.

Roy, who sells Vermont-grown trees, wreaths, and kissing balls on Williston Road in South Burlington near I-89, said she has been telling her customers that despite the national reports, Vermont trees are available, and looking good.

According to the most recent census from the USDA, in 2012, Vermont farmers harvested more than 134,500 Christmas trees. The top-producing state, Oregon, harvested more than 6.4-million trees in 2012, according to that 2014 document.

Tree hauler Seth Johnson, who was driving through Waterbury Monday while making a delivery of hundreds of trees to Williston, said he has been all over New England this month, and beyond. Johnson delivers trees from several farmers in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom, he said.

"In the last three weeks, I’ve been to Providence, Boston, the Cape, Long Island," Johnson said. "It’s a fun time of year."

Johnson said, anecdotally, that the wholesalers for whom he delivers have received inquiries from far-flung locations this year asking about the availability of trees, because of shortages elsewhere.

In snowy Morrisville, Paine’s Christmas Tree Farm said the weather this year was particularly kind to their fields, so they have plenty of trees for their choose-and-cut customers, as well as for folks who prefer a pre-cut tree.

"We had a really good growing season," said Andrea Blaisdell of Paine’s Christmas Tree Farm. "We certainly had enough rain, and we usually get a good amount of sunshine during the growing season, so they’re really nice this year."

Paine’s and most Vermont growers re-plant at least as many trees as they cut down, aiming to maintain this industry as an important part of the agriculture sector.

"It’s going to be good," said 3-year-old Grady Brandt of Stowe, describing the Christmas tree he helped his family select from Paine’s.

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