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Christmas trees being harvested

By Jim Conrad, jconrad@wcyb.com
Published On: Dec 24 2013 12:33:44 PM CST
Updated On: Oct 27 2013 11:00:00 PM CDT

It's only Halloween and we're talking about Christmas -- it's time to harvest the season's centerpiece.

GRAYSON COUNTY, Va. -

Halloween is this week and we're already talking about Christmas -- Christmas trees, that is.

Our higher elevations have the perfect conditions for growing the favorite, Frasier Ffirs. The first orders for trees have already been made with more on the way.

Ready or not, here comes Christmas, at least the Christmas trees. "Santa Claus doesn't wait on anybody. It's ho, ho, ho and here he comes," Christmas tree grower Rodney Richardson jokes.

It may be the last of October but Rodney Richards's Mount Rogers Christmas Tree Farm is already making deliveries to Virginia's coast. "We supply them for Busch Gardens every year. They set up 1,300 and decorate them. We had a date we had to deliver last Monday, the first delivery, and today there's a second delivery which has already been made. I checked on the boys and they're on their way home," he says.

You might think that this season's wet weather would help the trees, but it depends on where they're grown. "It didn't hurt me much. Frasier Fir doesn't like wet feet, and if you had trees in bottomland I've noticed around the countryside where people had trees on marginal land. You seen a lot of dead trees that just drowned out," Richardson said.

Next are the big orders for the big box stores, made easier with a brand new machine. "We're palletizing for some of the box stores and we're trying to get everything ready that goes out first, which is mostly box stores first," he said.

So check those trees when you find them -- chances are they came from the high mountains of Virginia.

One more interesting fact: one of Richardson's larger trees will grace the home of Vice President Joe Biden this season.