By SUSAN JENNINGS
as originally posted on the Smart blog
If the quest for the perfect Christmas tree reaches Griswoldian proportions in your household, then it’s never too early to start looking, according to area farmers.
Mike Breighner, owner of Breighner’s Tree Farms outside Gettysburg, said he’d already sold three trees to a woman in early September and that another couple has been waiting three years for their perfect tree to reach just the right height.
Since the first week of October, there’s been a box of tags and bright pink ribbons on Donna Miller’s porch for customers of Miller’s Tree Farm to stake their claim. Miller, who co-owns the farm with her husband, Rodney, said there were two trees already tagged in September because college-bound kids wanted to be able to help pick out the family tree.
“We have people that come from D.C. and Virginia that come up for apple harvest and come up and mark their tree,” she said.
As far as what to look for in the perfect tree, everyone has a different take.
When it comes to fresh-cut Christmas trees, the firs reign supreme — especially Fraser and Douglas firs — Breighner and Miller said. But the most popular trees don’t necessarily top their list of favorites.
“I like the scotch pine because it’s a good value for the money,” Breighner said.
For Miller, a sweet scent is key.
“My favorite is the concolor fir because it smells like tangerines,” she said.
No matter what type of tree you choose, buying one that’s fresh cut will help it last longer. When you bring the tree home, if you’re not putting it in a stand right away, Miller advises keeping it in water so the sap doesn’t seal over the bottom. Don’t put the tree near a heat source, which will dry it out, and be sure to water it daily to ensure a longer life.
Many of the pre-cut trees sold in parking lots in the area come from as far away as North Carolina, said Emma Lower, manager at Boyer Nursery and Orchards, so buying locally can help reduce your carbon footprint.
“There’s a very small number of people that grow live Christmas trees in Pennsylvania so you’re supporting an industry that’s kind of dying out,” she said.
If you’re on the hunt for a real Christmas tree, check out this list of options. The following businesses are all in York and Adams counties.
Boyer Nurseries and Orchards — Live trees. 405 Boyer Nursery Road, Franklin Township; 717-677-8558. Open 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Trees will be available Thanksgiving through Dec. 23. Visit www.boyernurseries.com.
Breighner’s Tree Farms — Cut-your-own and pre-cut trees. 2545 Baltimore Pike, Mount Joy Township; -717-451-0014. Open Thanksgiving through Dec. 24.
Cabin Creek Farms — Cut-your-own and pre-cut trees. 635 Perry Road, Windsor Township; 717-244-4496. Open Nov. 17 through the end of December.
Cole Brothers — Cut-your-own and pre-cut trees. 1507 Narrows Road, Menallen Township; 717-677-8958. Open Nov. 23 until Christmas.
Cornerstone Plantation — Cut-your-own trees. 4509 Young Road, Codorus Township; 717-235-1885. Open Nov. 23 through Dec. 24. Visit cptrees.com.
Elicker Tree Farm — Cut-your-own trees. East Ridge Road, Monaghan Township; 717-766-5714. Open Nov. 23 through Dec. 24. Call for hours.
Family Tree Farm — Cut-your-own and pre-cut trees. 4688 Dairy Road, North Hopewell Township; 717-332-6365 or 717-332-6275. Open Nov. 23 through Dec. 24. Visit www.familytreefarm.com.
Flinchbaugh’s Orchard and Farm Market — Pre-cut trees. 110 Ducktown Road, Hellam Township; 717-252-2540, firstname.lastname@example.org. Open Nov. 23 to Dec. 24; closed Sundays. Visit www.flinchbaughsorchard.com.
Hall Brothers Fruit Farm — Cut-your-own and pre-cut trees. 2470 Buchanan Valley Road, Franklin Township; 717-677-7184. Open Thanksgiving through Christmas. Call for hours.
Haring’s Tree Farms — Cut-your-own and pre-cut trees. 1705 Valley Road, Newberry Township; -717-938-6669. Also 330 River Drive, York Haven; 717-266-6590. Both Open Nov. 23 through Dec. 23.
Kreisel Tree Farm — Cut-your-own trees. 2721 Jefferson Road, Spring Grove; 717-229-2605. Open Fridays through Sundays, Nov. 23 through Dec. 24. Call for hours.
McCurdy’s Tree Farm at Chestnut Grove — Cut-your-own and pre-cut trees. 127 Chestnut Grove Road, Carroll Township; a second cut-your-own tree farm at 236 Campground Road, Carroll Township; 717-432-4017. Open Nov. 23 through Dec. 24; Visit www.mccurdystreefarm.com.
Miller’s Tree Farm — Cut-your-own and pre-cut trees. 4036 Carlisle
Road, Dickinson Township; -717-486-5891. Open Nov. 23 through Jan. 6.
Montandon Acres — Cut-your-own and pre-cut trees. 1948 Noss Road, North Codorus Township; -717-225-3797, Open Nov. 23 through late December. Visit www.montandonservices.com.
Seven Springs Tree Farm — Live, cut-your-own and pre-cut trees. 1668 Old Route 30, Franklin Township; -717-334-9426. Open Nov. 23 to Dec. 24. Visit www.sevenspringstrees.com.
Showers Tree Farm — Live, cut-your-own and -pre-cut trees. 465 Clearview Road, Menallen Township; 717-677-6816. Open Nov. 23 through Dec. 24. Visit www.showerstreefarm.com.
Sober’s Christmas Tree Farm — Pre-cut trees. 130 Bridge St., Fairview Township; 717-554-3878. Open Nov. 23 through Dec. 23. Visit soberstrees.com.
Springfield Tree Farm — Cut-your-own and -pre-cut trees. 7022 Susquehanna Trail South, Springfield Township. 717-428-2244. Open Nov. 23 through Dec. 22. Visit www.springfieldtreefarm.net.
Strathmeyer Christmas Trees — Several locations throughout the county. For details, visit www.strathmeyerchristmastrees.com.
Compiled by Sarah Chain and Susan Jennings
— Source: pickyourownchristmastree.org
Mike Breighner, owner of Breighner’s Tree Farms, recommends dissolving a tablespoon of sugar or one crushed aspirin in the water every day as long as the tree is continuing to take in water.
“Continue to feed it, and that tree will last you a long time,” he said.
Want more holiday ideas? Visit Smart’s Holiday Countdown page.