Christmas Tree Farms Vital Part of Vermont Working Lands and State Brand
By Scott Waterman, VT Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets - January 2022
Governor Phil Scott and Agriculture Secretary Anson Tebbetts visited Maple Hill Farm in Barton on Monday, November 29th to celebrate the beginning of the Christmas season with the help of Vermont’s farmers. The trees cut during that visit decorated the Pavilion Building in Montpelier, which houses the Governor’s Office.
“As we enter the holiday season, Vermont and its people, including our farmers, offer so many reasons to celebrate,” said Governor Phil Scott. “This is a time of year to take note of the good and unite around the true meaning behind each of the seasons’ traditions: Togetherness, community and hope.”
“We were honored to have the Governor visit our farm. This is a special time of year for us! We are so lucky to see and visit with all our friends and neighbors, all while hunting for the perfect tree,” said Nick Lussier of Maple Hill Farm, who along with his wife Stephanie, own and operate the 30-acre maple and Christmas tree farm located in the Northeast Kingdom. They also produce and handcraft pure wood-fired Vermont maple syrup, maple cream, and their signature maple seasonings and jellies, as well as raw honey.
According to the 2017 USDA Census, there are 3,650 acres in Christmas tree production in Vermont across 70 farms with a crop worth more than $2.6 million. Many more Vermonters bring to market Christmas trees, wreaths, garland and other decorator items each year, according to Jim Horst of the NH/VT Christmas Tree Association. “Many trees are sold to the wholesale market for ultimate resale throughout the region,” Horst said. “Others, though, are sold directly to the consumer, who enjoy the process of actually visiting the farm and taking part in the “cut your own” experience.”
“Choosing and cutting a Vermont Christmas tree is a holiday tradition. It brings families together in the Green Mountains bringing joy and happiness during this special time of year,” said Secretary Tebbetts. “We are grateful for all the Christmas Tree farmers who work the land and grow such beautiful trees for us to enjoy.”
Vermont holiday trees have also decorated homes in New York City, Boston and Philadelphia each year, with thousands of Green Mountain trees sold in urban pop-up markets. In addition, visitors to Vermont participate in our holiday tradition by hauling home freshly cut trees. This season, the country is experiencing a shortage of wholesale Christmas trees, but Vermont’s pick-your-own crop is prepared for the season, with plenty of trees to choose from when you visit your nearest Christmas tree farm.