MANTUA TWP., N.J. — New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher highlighted the choose and cut Christmas tree season with a visit to the Mantua Township location of Exley’s Christmas Tree Farms in Gloucester County. Secretary Fisher cut down a Douglas Fir to emphasize the importance of visiting a New Jersey Christmas tree farm.
Gov. Murphy also signed a proclamation earlier this week to encourage New Jersey residents to support the state’s farmers and visit choose and cut Christmas tree farms.
“The experience of going to a New Jersey choose and cut Christmas tree farm can create memories that last a lifetime and keep families returning for generations,” Secretary Fisher said. “Exley’s has done an outstanding job of creating a place that allows families to have a fulfilling Christmas experience while also choosing the perfect Christmas tree for their home. Visiting a Christmas tree farm can be a day-long activity and it’s a great way to support the local economy.”
Exley’s Christmas Tree Farms, which is a member of the New Jersey Christmas Tree Growers Association, has two locations, one in the Sewell section of Mantua Township in Gloucester County and a Monroeville site in Salem County. They are each between 30-35 acres. Part of the experience at the Sewell location includes an indoor working model train display, a hayride that features stops at Santa’s House and a Thomas the Train display along with other play areas near the Christmas tree growing area. Exley’s began as a landscaping business more than 50 years ago. It’s first Christmas tree was planted in 1974 and sold in 1984. Exley’s features Douglas Fir, Canaan Fir, Turkish Fir, Norway Spruce, Blue Spruce and White Pine varieties of trees. The Christmas tree farms are scheduled to be open through Dec. 23.
“We have some second-generation families who are returning now and it’s really rewarding to know they want to come back and pick out a tree from one of our farms,” said co-owner Bob Exley, who owns the business with his sons Bill and Chris Exley. “To see families come out and have an enjoyable experience is really important to us. We want the visits here to be wonderful memories that last a lifetime for everyone involved.”
Almost 69,000 trees are cut in New Jersey each year. The last U.S. Census of Agriculture ranked New Jersey seventh in the nation in the number of Christmas tree growers, with hundreds of farms that grow more than 4,600 acres of Christmas trees in the state.
The New Jersey Christmas Tree Growers’ Association, organized in 1950, is a statewide organization of growers, professionals and industry leaders dedicated to the promotion and marketing of Christmas trees and related products. A listing of farms consumers can visit as well as the types of trees that best fit a need are available at www.njchristmastrees.org.
Also, this year, the Department of Agriculture is having a social media Christmas tree photo contest of trees purchased from one of New Jersey’s Christmas tree farms. Whether in the field or once decorated at home, the department is asking for families to share photos of their tree on the Jersey Fresh Facebook, Instagram or Twitter pages using the hashtag #JerseyFreshChristmas. Participants need to mention the name of the New Jersey Christmas Tree farm where the tree was purchased. The contest runs until Dec. 25 and two winners will receive a $150 gift card to where they like finding Jersey Fresh the most. Learn more at https://findjerseyfresh.com/contest/.
— New Jersey Department of Agriculture