In part one of our “Choose Real, Choose Local Christmas Trees” series, we focus on the top three reasons to choose real Minnesota Christmas tree producers this holiday season.
Whether it’s a “real” product or a “real” experience, the notion appears in many ways during the holiday season. To learn more about the local Christmas tree industry, we talked with Derek and Doug Hoffbauer from Balsam Wreaths & Christmas Trees and David Hansen from Hansen Tree Farm.
Reason One: Real Family Tradition
Large trees, fluffy snow, cold hands, and warm hearts are all part of creating a memorable winter family tradition. The rows of evergreen trees provide a natural verdant backdrop for your holiday card. Christmas tree farms often offer other family-friendly activities such as sleigh rides, Santa visits, and gift shops. No matter which tree farm or lot you visit, the kids will love choosing the largest tree, whether or not it will actually fit in your living room.
Reason Two: Real Environmental Impact
Producers employ environmentally sustainable farming practices. The Minnesota Christmas Tree Association’s “Go Green and Getting Real” initiative supports real Christmas trees as a biodegradable and recyclable agricultural product that provides animal habitat, prevents soil erosion, and cleans the air and soil. In addition, the average Christmas tree absorbs more than 1 ton of CO2 during its 8- to 10-year lifetime. Furthermore, each acre of trees produces enough oxygen for the daily needs of 18 people. “It is a renewable resource that does not use landfill space,” Derek Hoffbauer explained. In December’s Pick of the Month, we’ll share how to recycle your locally grown Christmas tree.
Reason Three: Real Impact on Community Producers
In addition to being a memorable winter tradition and environmentally conscious choice, real Christmas trees benefit the local economy. Because families are “supporting a whole network of Minnesota producers,” many Minnesota tree farms “seasonally hire local employees to help ensure their customers a positive experience.” Hansen Tree Farm supports other industries by selling jams, maple syrup, wild rice, and offering free Minnesota orchard apple cider to their guests.
If these reasons aren’t convincing enough to buy real, we recommend meeting your local producer. "It isn’t so much about the tree,” said Doug Hoffbauer. “We are selling traditions, memories and experiences. Come out to the farm and let your kids be a part of choosing your tree, even if it isn’t perfect. You are building such a beautiful tradition for your family!”
Minnesota Grown member producers have been growing and providing consumers with high quality, real Christmas trees for decades. The Minnesota Grown Directory has 66 farms offering both pre-cut and cut-your-own trees. Stay tuned for part two of our series where we will discuss caring and recycling your real Christmas tree.