CHESTERFIELD, N.J. — New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher officially kicked off the choose and cut Christmas tree season during the annual ceremonial cutting of a Christmas tree, held this year at Spruce Goose Christmas Tree Farm in Burlington County.
Gov. Christie proclaimed Nov. 27 as Jersey Grown Christmas Tree Day, encouraging New Jersey residents to support the state’s farmers and visit choose and cut Christmas tree farms.
“A visit to a New Jersey Christmas tree farm provides families with life-long memories,” said Secretary Fisher. “Our farmers grow some of the most beautiful and healthy trees in the nation. Like other agritourism activities, many people who visit Christmas tree farms can make a day out of it, visiting nearby restaurants and other businesses, supporting the local economy.”
Spruce Goose Christmas Tree Farm’s Douglas Fir tree won the 2017 New Jersey Christmas Tree Growers Association annual tree contest that was held at the Middlesex County Fair. It has been a long-standing tradition that the kick-off of the Choose-and-Cut Christmas tree season takes place at the Grand Champion’s farm. The first tree seedlings at Spruce Goose were planted in 1987 with tree harvesting beginning in 1993. This season, John and Karyn Benton, owners of Spruce Goose Christmas Tree Farm, will celebrate 25 years of harvesting Christmas trees along with celebrating being the New Jersey Grand Champion. Spruce Goose offers Colorado Blue Spruce, Serbian Spruce, Norway Spruce, Douglas Fir, Fraser Fir, White and Canaan Firs and Scotch and Eastern White Pines.
“We take great pride in growing our Christmas Trees and it is an honor to be this year’s New Jersey Grand Champion,” John Benton said. “We work throughout the year to maintain our trees. It’s really enjoyable when the season is here and families come to our farm having fun picking out their tree.”
Almost 69,000 trees are cut in New Jersey each year. The 2012 U.S. Census of Agriculture ranked New Jersey seventh in the nation in the number of Christmas tree growers, with 809 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 are that best fit a need are available at www.njchristmastrees.org.
— New Jersey Department of Agriculture