December 07, 2009
Agriculture Secretary Roger Allbee is encouraging Vermonters to support local tree farmers by purchasing real, locally grown Vermont Christmas trees this holiday season
Montpelier, Vt – The Vermont Christmas tree season has begun and the Agency of Agriculture is encouraging you to buy local, buy Vermont when it comes to choosing your holiday tree.
Vermont Christmas trees are special. Many of the trees grown here are shipped to New York City, Boston and other areas, sought after for their quality and beauty. Quality is assured by inspectors with the Vermont Agency of Agriculture. Each year, trees that are marked for export are inspected for disease and pests before they are shipped out of state. Farms that pass those inspections are given a certificate, which allows the growers to sell nearly everywhere. A full list of Christmas tree growers can be found on the Vermont Agency of Agriculture web site at www.vermontagriculture.com.
Governor Douglas was recently a guest at Gilbert Tree Farm in Williamstown to choose and cut a tree, a tradition since he took office in 2003, and a family tradition for many years.
“There’s nothing like the look and smell of a fresh-cut Vermont tree,” the Governor said. “My family and I have always chosen to cut our own tree. Not only do real trees look great in our living room, but they are also recyclable, keeping unwanted waste out of our landfills. Buying a tree from a Vermont farmer is also important for the local economy, now more than ever.”
“Home for the holidays” will take on special meaning this year for the approximately 1,500 members of Vermont National Guard who will be leaving the Green Mountains shortly after Christmas for a year-long deployment in Afghanistan. Some soldiers will have only a brief visit home at Christmas between pre-deployment training and the time they leave for Afghanistan.
To help make the holidays as memorable as possible, Christmas tree growers across Vermont have joined forces to contribute trees to members of the military and their families. The effort is being organized by the New Hampshire-Vermont Christmas Tree Association, which has conducted a similar program for several years now. But with more Vermont troops being deployed this year, the program has taken on special significance and the number of trees being contributed has increased dramatically. This holiday season, 32 Christmas tree farms from every corner of Vermont are contributing to the “Trees for Troops” program.
“This is the largest unit deployment since WWII and there will be many Vermont families impacted. The Trees for Troops program is recognition of the sacrifice that Vermont soldiers and their families have made. A Vermont Christmas tree is the perfect symbol of tradition and holiday spirit. We hope these trees will provide some comfort and joy to our military personnel and their families who might not be able to be together this holiday season,” said Roger Allbee, Secretary of the Agency of Agriculture.
Many of the trees will be available at choose-and-cut Christmas tree farms in Vermont; others have been delivered by FedEx to military bases out-of-state as part of the Christmas Spirit Foundation’s national “Trees for Troops” program. Across the U.S., about 15,000 Christmas trees are being donated to the military this year.
“Our hope is that this will make the holidays a little brighter, and let the members and families of the Vermont National Guard know that their friends and neighbors are there for them,” explains Jim Horst, executive director of the New Hampshire-Vermont Christmas Tree Association.
Individuals wishing to contribute financially to help support the “Trees for Troops” program can do so online via the Christmas Spirit Foundation’s Web site, www.christmasspiritfoundation.org.
Vermont boasts about 250 tree farms statewide, with thousands of acres in active production. Yearly sales total some $10-million dollars, giving a seasonal boost to Vermont’s agricultural economy.
Source: Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets
Last Updated at: December 07, 2009 08:09:33