There’s nothing that reminds me more of the holiday season than walking into a home filled with the aroma of a freshly cut Christmas tree. While maintaining this beautiful old tradition, we in the Northwest have the choice of buying from a local grower who uses sustainable practices. The Puget Sound Christmas Tree Association is a non-profit organization with a map on their website of farms with u-cut and freshly cut trees in our area.
For the past 20 years, we’ve bought our tree from Hunter Farms. Their lot is at 7744 35th Ave. NE in Seattle. Traditionally, we choose the day with the worst weather possible to find our tree. This started out as a coincidence but now if there’s a particularly nasty day, we’ll bundle up and go pick out our tree. I know it sounds crazy, but sometimes traditions are like that. Hunter Farms has been in existence as a family farm since 1889 and this is their 57th year of selling trees on their lot in Seattle. They don’t spray the trees with pesticides and in my opinion have some of the prettiest trees around. They operate a year-round General Store in Union featuring local Skokomish Indian artwork, local seafood and homemade ice cream along with basic groceries.
For the first time this year, Three Tree Farms has been selling Christmas trees at the University Farmers Market in addition to operating a u-cut farm in Maple Valley. They have some very nice trees and if we didn’t already have the tradition of going to Hunter Farms, I could’ve easily bought one from them.
Many environmentalists consider tree farms more beneficial than most types of farming. They can be helpful in preserving soil and providing organic matter back into depleted farmland. During the eight years it takes a Christmas tree to grow, it helps protect the land against erosion and provides a refuge for a diversity of wildlife. As with any type of farming, the use of pesticides and herbicides can create run-off that pollutes near-by streams and rivers. It’s always a good idea to ask the grower about their use of pesticides.
Sustaining traditions and doing what we can to preserve our planet for the generations that follow continues to be a motivation, even more so at this time of year.