Tree growers in Delaware say their Christmas tree sales are shaping up pretty well this year.
This calendar year has only four weekends between Thanksgiving and Christmas - with the final of those coming up at the end of this week.
Despite the shorter time window, Delaware Tree Growers Association President Rosanne Conlon of Turning Point Farms in Hartly says her sales are up 25% compared to this time last year and she says other growers in the state are reporting similar numbers.
She says she thinks people have been cooped up for so long because of lockdowns that more folks want to get outside and buy a real tree this year.
“I have had several customers come; I haven’t seen them maybe in the last ten years—in one case—and they said ‘Well, we’ve had an artificial tree for so many years, but this year we decided we want a real tree,’ and think it’s just because people have been so closed in,” said Conlon.
But farms growing trees for Christmas are becoming increasingly less common in the First State. Conlon says five years ago there were more than 30 farms in Delaware and now there are only 11.
“So we have more than half of our membership of five years ago is now where we are, but most of us are aging out of growing trees,” she said.
The Delaware Tree Growers’ Association received $17,042 through the USDA Farm Bill in 2016 to enhance the competitiveness of Delaware’s specialty crop industry. Conlon says little was learned from the study as the number of growers in the state dwindled.
Conlon says Ag Department COVID-19 rules require her to put up social distancing signage, require mask wearing and not allow any pets on the farm this year.