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Retirements among N.S. Christmas tree farmers putting pressure on remaining sellers

Click to play video: 'N.S. Christmas tree farmers say demand high this year'
N.S. Christmas tree farmers say demand high this year
If you haven't found that perfect tree to wrap in tinsel and decorate in twinkling lights, you'll have to act quickly. Growers say a high demand this season paired with the retirement of farmers is making for a prickly situation in Nova Scotia as the Christmas countdown winds down. Skye Bryden-Blom reports – Dec 16, 2022

Christmas tree growers say a high demand this season paired with the retirement of farmers is making for a prickly situation in Nova Scotia as the Christmas countdown draws near.

Smith’s Christmas Trees has set up on a lot at the Halifax Forum for 25 years. Owner Lloyd Smith of New Germany has been working in the industry for over forty years.

He estimates he’s seen three generations of families pass through his with many regulars checking out his trees.

Lloyd Smith, owner of Smith’s Christmas Trees. Skye Bryden-Blom / Global News

Three generations of clientele have been coming to his lot, he said. But this year, the buying public must contend with fewer sellers. Retirements has been placing pressure on the sellers who remain.

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“The older generation is either gone or they retired,” he says.” And, the younger generation doesn’t seem to want to put anything it to it.”

He says the hunt for Christmas trees has been so intense, some Nova Scotians have been following his truck right to the lot when they see a trailer loaded with evergreens.

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He’s had to chop into next year’s supply to keep up with the high demand.

“People started coming in and they were saying ‘I’m glad you’re here,'” He says. “Different people came in and said they went to the lot where they usually buy a tree, but they’re not set up there.”

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Earlier this week, the president of the Lunenburg Christmas Tree Association reported there are many challenges the industry is facing right now.

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“Our growers, as I say, are getting older, labour is hard to find, there are trucking issues, the industry has not been seeing young people coming into it,” Murray Crouse says. “Our numbers are dropping.”

He adds it’s especially difficult because Nova Scotia is one of the top Christmas tree producers in the country.

 

Amanda Mullenger has been visiting Smith’s trees since childhood. She loves being able to pick out the one with the perfect needles and unique character.

Amanda Mullenger and Tyler Beatty. Skye Bryden-Blom / Global News

She says the nostalgia of shopping at Smith’s connects her with tradition and loved ones.

“One of the days that we went to go get the Christmas tree, that morning I found out that my grandfather had passed away,” she says. “Although it seems silly to say that, it’s why I keep coming back here because there are the memories, the tradition is here, really I feel him here in each Christmas tree I pick.”

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Her partner Tyler Beatty says it’s a joy being able to share the traditions with her.

“It’s nice to relive those memories, and make new memories here in Halifax,” he says.

On Friday, Smith was down to his last two trailers of trees. He expected the lot to sell out on Saturday.

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