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Local News -

December 8, 2012

Area tree farms' sales strong

People who sell locally grown Christmas trees said that this should be their busiest weekend of the season that began after Thanksgiving.

George Lundin, owner of Lundin’s Tree Farm in Otego said he first planted trees in 1984. This weekend he expects to sell about 250 of the 500 trees that he will sell for the season on the 9-acre farm. The Fraser fir are the most popular, because they have soft needles and strong branches better for hanging ornaments, he said.

Like other tree sellers interviewed Friday, he hasn’t raised prices, but the downturn in the economy hasn’t affected his business.

“It’s something you are going to have,” he said. For most people, it provides three or four weeks of enjoyment, so “there is a lot of bang for your buck.”

According to the National Christmas Tree Association, there were 30.8 million real trees purchased in 2011. The total of artificial trees was 9.5 million. The U.S. Department of Agriculture for 2007, the latest year that information was available, said New York ranked seventh in production with 348,000 trees cut from 1,154 tree farms with 20,267 acres in production. No. 1 was Oregon with 6,850,841 trees cut.

Lundin said the dry summer affected some of the younger trees, but the more established ones are fine. The season starts just after Thanksgiving and he will probably be closed before Christmas Eve. He stops selling when he reached the maximum so there will be a selection for next year.

“The best part is seeing the returning families. We try to be a full-service business,” including cutting trees for people when needed.

One person who cut his own was Rodney Thorsland, of Unadilla, who picked out a blue spruce, along with his wife, Sheena, and 4-year-old daughter, Amiley. They liked the tree for its shape.

Thorsland said he has come to Lundin’s for about 10 years. He said he likes the look of a real tree and the fragrance.

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