N.B. Christmas tree farms see pandemic sales boost

Click to play video: 'New Brunswick farmers say Christmas tree sales are soaring' New Brunswick farmers say Christmas tree sales are soaring
WATCH: New Brunswick farmers say they’ve had to adapt to the new COVID-19 reality, but the good news is that sales of Christmas trees are soaring. Travis Fortnum reports. – Nov 29, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has seen the cancellation of many things this year but it appears Christmas isn’t one of them.

Christmas tree growers say demand for trees has skyrocketed – and it isn’t even December yet.

In Quispamsis, Amy Watson says her family’s tree farm effectively sold out for the year after just one day.

Watson posted to Facebook on Thursday to let people know Forresters Point Tree Farm would open on Saturday — a little early this year.

“It was fantastic, everyone came,” says Watson.

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Watson says her Facebook post emphasized that a stop at a Christmas tree farm is a fun, family-friendly way to get out of the house while adhering to public health guidelines – and also support local.

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“I think people are really looking to support that this year more than they ever have before,” she says.

Up in Sussex, Folkins Hillside Tree Farm is adapting as well.

“It’s a little different,” says owner/operator Nancy Folkins.

A family finds the perfect tree at Folkins Hillside Tree Farm. Travis Fortnum / Global News

Families have to stick to their one-household bubbles, wear masks and bring their own saws if they’re opting to go the popular cut-your-own route.

Folkins says they can also cut down trees for families without saws once they pick one out.

They also offer pre-cut trees but say they’ve cut down fewer this year with the uncertainty of who will still come out.

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READ MORE: The Christmas retail rush has kicked in early in Atlantic Canada amid COVID-19

The Folkins’ farm usually sets aside the last weekend of November for a family tradition – which they call the tree run.

Relatives from the United States take the American Thanksgiving long weekend to travel to the Sussex-area farm, spend the weekend picking out and cutting down trees, and then take them back to Massachusetts to sell.

Folkins says border restrictions and erring on the side of caution meant that couldn’t happen – so they opened to the public instead.

She says she was happy to do so.

“It’s the excitement of the kids,” Folkins says, “I can’t even explain it.

She says the farm normally sees about 100 families a year – some even come in the summer and mark their trees months ahead of time.

“They put their tree on and they get back in the car and I’m like ‘OK. We did it again,’” she says.

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