Photo from Chris Delaney of Santa Rosa Ranch.
Consumers are becoming more aware of the ecological impacts of popular holiday traditions like Thanksgiving turkeys, pumpkins, and Christmas Trees. Over the years we’ve been delighted when reporters call us to ask about Certified Naturally Grown Christmas trees. This year, we’re proud to feature two--Licking Creek Bend Farm in Needmore, Pennsylvania and Santa Rosa Ranch in Barriere, British Columbia.
According to TakePart, 99% of the 33 million live Christmas trees purchased each year are grown with synthetic pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers. These chemicals pollute the soil and waterways, and can harm wildlife as well as the farm workers who tend to them. In contrast, Christmas Trees grown by Certified Naturally Grown farmers are produced in alignment with principles of biodiversity and stewardship.
In Washington DC, you can find Certified Naturally Grown Christmas Trees grown by Licking Creek Bend Farm. “I really like growing trees,” says farmer Michael Tabor, a longtime member of CNG whose growing practices are highlighted in this inspiring Youtube video. “There’s something very spiritual and holy about planting and tending [them].” Every December, Tabor and his family sell hundreds of Christmas Trees at the buzzing Adams Morgan Farmers Market and other DC locations.
Photo from Licking Creek Bend Farm
They work hard to make sure that the trees, which can take 15-20 years to grow, are cut within days of pickup, unlike the commercial Christmas trees which are cut in October and doused with preservatives and color dyes to imitate freshness. Their lifespan is more than double that of commercial trees. These bright green fir trees and spruces are so eco-friendly that some customers report discovering a bird's nest hidden among the branches!
On the other side of the continent, Santa Rosa Ranch in British Columbia is home to 25,000 Christmas trees. Farmer Chris Delaney planted the trees years ago on an idle, 35-acre hay meadow. They plan to harvest their first 5,000 in December of 2018. Delaney says, “British Columbians are very concerned about the environment, and we wanted to keep our farm land clean and chemical-free.” His customers are impressed and supportive that the trees are grown according to Certified Naturally Grown standards, without synthetic chemicals.
Photo from the Instagram of Licking Creek Bend Farm.