- Associated Press - Friday, December 2, 2016

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (AP) - “Timber!” is not a warning shout usually heard when a Christmas tree is cut, but it’s what Landon Crawn yelled Sunday.

Continuing their family tradition of selecting a tree together, the Crawn family was among dozens seeking a Christmas tree for their homes at the Holiday Hill Christmas Tree Farm.

“When it timbers” was the description 5-year-old Landon gave as his favorite part of selecting a tree. He and sister Lucy, 3, disagreed briefly on how to load their tree onto a wagon to be pulled to their vehicle, but with help from Mom and Dad, their Scotch pine was soon headed for home.

Evergreen trees adorned dozens of vehicles driving away from the seasonal business on East Ferree Drive. It was definitely a busy day, business owner Doug Miller said, as the cool temperatures and sunny skies led many people to make quick selections so they could also get a cup of hot chocolate inside the office as they paid for their trees.

Many of the families in search of the perfect Christmas tree carried saws down the gravel lane to choose among the few remaining trees grown for this holiday season. Others stayed near the barns where pre-cut trees were available.

“Our biggest seller is the choose and cut,” Miller said. “Those always go first.”

And indeed, more stumps than trees remained by noon Sunday for the 2016 crop. But anticipating the demand, Miller had many pre-cut trees already available.

“This is such an exciting business to be in because all of the folks who are coming out are having a good time. For many it’s a family tradition, and there are lots of laughs,” Miller said. “They will come out and they’ll look around and they will all find a tree they can agree on, and then they’ll all come in and have some hot chocolate around the fire.”

Along with Scotch pine, Miller grows white pine and Douglas fir. They have also imported trees for the season.

The Frazier fir - a high-end, more expensive tree - holds the ornaments and needles well, Miller said. Those are imported from the mountains of North Carolina. The Scotch pine is less expensive and also has great needle retention and a beautiful shape.

The average price for a tree is $30 to $65 this year, he said, though the largest trees could sell for $100.

It takes about seven Indiana years to grow a mature Christmas tree, so the remaining patches of trees at the farm are for future holiday seasons.

“The neat thing for our family is to visit with folks who keep coming back year after year,” Miller said. “We may see them only once a year, but it’s a blessing.”

Even though Christmas Day is about a month away, the trees will hold up well after being cut. A little water in their holders will keep them from drying out quickly.

The business began selling trees more than a week ago. On the Friday after Thanksgiving, 321 trees were sold. An estimated 1,200 people visited the tree farm that day.

Glen and Crystal Fields brought their three sons - Wyatt, Peyton and Chase - to select a tree on Sunday. They have been going to Holiday Hill for seven years, Glen Fields said.

“It’s a family tradition,” he said of the choose and cut. “We usually come on the same day each year, but this time, there’s not much left.”

“I like cutting down the tree. It’s really fun,” 10-year-old Wyatt said. His brother Peyton, 7, agreed.

“I like decorating it,” 5-year-old Chase said.

“We like the feel and look and smell of a real tree,” Glen Fields said.

Miller said that Holiday Hill will be open this season - from 4 to 6 p.m. weekdays, with all-day weekend hours - until all of the trees are sold.

At the rate the trees were being shaken and bailed for transport Sunday, the sooner the shoppers show up, the better.


Source: (Terre Haute) Tribune-Star, https://bit.ly/2fJMVvz


Information from: Tribune-Star, https://www.tribstar.com

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