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Island tree growers seeing steady sales in lead-up to Christmas

Neve Honsberger, 5, from left, Max Honsberger, 7, and John Alec Nicholson, 10, pick out a tree while exploring the Silver Bell Christmas Tree Farm in Miltonvale Park on the weekend. Island tree growers are reporting steady sales this year, with some saying numbers appear to be up from last year.
Neve Honsberger, 5, from left, Max Honsberger, 7, and John Alec Nicholson, 10, pick out a tree while exploring the Silver Bell Christmas Tree Farm in Miltonvale Park on the weekend. Island tree growers are reporting steady sales this year, with some saying numbers appear to be up from last year. - Katherine Hunt

For many Islanders, it appears an artificial tree still cannot top the real thing.

Christmas tree growers in P.E.I. are starting to wrap up their season after a steady month of sales.

Bryce Drummond, co-owner of Drummond’s Christmas Tree Farm in Freetown, said sales appear to be up this year.

“We’ve had an exceptional season,” he said. “It started off strong and continued strong to the end.

“I do believe we’ll be up in sales a bit. I don’t really tally until the end of the year.”

Drummond said the spike in sales could be attributed to the number of new customers from areas in P.E.I. without Christmas tree farms.

“From what I’m hearing there’s not too many trees in Summerside so we’re getting a lot of first-time new customers coming out from Summerside area,” said Drummond.

Islanders still looking for a Christmas tree may not want to wait much longer.

ChrisMIX Tree Farm in North Wiltshire is sold out of trees for the season, according to the business’ automated voicemail.

Meanwhile, Dan Murphy, manager of Silver Bell Christmas Tree Farm in Miltonvale Park, said he believes this year’s sales have been at least on par with previous years.

The most recent weekend was the final one for Silver Bell to be open before Christmas.

“We might stay open a few days through the coming week,” said Murphy.

Many families were at the farm on Saturday, weaving through rows of trees in search of the perfect one for their home.

Friends Alberta Ferguson, Danielle Honsberger and Jill Nicholson of Charlottetown brought their children to Silver Bell Christmas Tree Farm to help hunt for the perfect tree.

Nicholson said the families have spent about 10 years going to Silver Bell to find a specific type of tree called a Concolor Fir.

“These have kind of a citrusy smell and it’s the smell of this particular one that we like,” said Nicholson.

“We’ve always went to get a tree in the woods.”

Drummond’s Tree Farm will stay open until Christmas Eve.

“We usually sell at least one or two on December 24,” said Drummond. “We have people who have the tradition of putting up the Christmas tree on Christmas Eve.”

The season also started earlier than usual for both the Drummond and Silver Bell farms.

The early snow in November caused people to go to the farms in mid-November.

“We started selling trees on Nov. 18 and we normally wouldn’t start until the following weekend,” said Murphy.

Drummond said they worried the traffic in November would bring down December’s sales, but it didn’t happen.

“We continued on strong through December,” he said.

Katherine.hunt@theguardian.pe.ca

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