The demand for live Christmas trees is on the rise as more families seek the experience and tradition of cutting down their own tree.
Beth Bossio, who helps run Quarter Pine Tree Farm in Smithfield, said more people are also learning that live trees are good for the environment because the constant growing of trees pulls carbon from the air. It takes a year for each tree to grow 1 foot tall, so all that time on the farm is good for the environment.
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Bossio added that the experience of opening a box just isn't the same as walking through a field and picking out a tree.
"A lot of families realize what a special time it is to come together in the outdoors and support a farm as opposed to a manufacturer in China," she said.
Here are some locations near Somerset County where Christmas trees are typically grown and sold.
Address: 173 Northfork Road, Johnstown.
Phone number: 814-421-7758.
Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekends after Thanksgiving.
Kevin and Sara Greenwood own this farm near Johnstown. Sara Greenwood said that their trees range from 5 to 7 feet tall, and that they encourage families to cut down their own tree.
"With only our second season in as the new owners, we have been anticipating increased demand by planting approximately 2,000 trees over the past two years," she said.
They also have a Santa sleigh for families to take photos in and a sales area for local crafters.
"We have hand saws if needed," she said. "We encourage people to bring a blanket or rope to secure their tree to their vehicle."
Address: 794 Younts Road, Bedford.
Phone number: 814-285-6887.
Hours: Open weekends 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. starting Nov. 20.
Owner Rick Koontz said his tree farm has many sizes of live trees ready for families to chop down this year. Most are about 6 feet tall, but some go up to 20 feet.
"We don't sell many of those. Most people want trees in the 6- to 8-foot range," he said.
Sellers Tree Farm opens earlier than most farms in the area, starting Nov. 20. Koontz said they close when they are out of trees.
"Last year the demand was so great, we closed a weekend early," he said. "We're expecting as much demand as last year."
He said the farm was receiving calls in early November from people asking to pick out and tag their tree early.
"People are very much aware there's a shortage of Christmas trees," he said. "They want to get out early and get their tree."
"Come early for the best selection."
Address: 6261 Bedford Valley Road, Bedford.
Phone number: 814-356-3071.
Hours: Open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 26, and open weekends starting Nov. 27 for pre-tagged trees. Its hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and 1 to 5 p.m. Sundays.
Owner Tammy Harrison said her small 5-acre farm has sold out of trees in the past, and most are harvested before they reach 8 feet. She refers customers to other farms for taller trees.
"We were actually able to sell all of our trees available in one day last year," she said. "So we now allow them to come early and tag their tree."
Harrison added that she expected all of the unselected trees to be taken by Black Friday.
Address: 2321 Rock Hill Church Road, Everett.
Phone number: 814-784-3650.
Hours: Opened Nov. 26. Hours are 8 a.m. to dark on weekends.
Owner George Kuhne said that his trees range from 4 or 5 feet up to 11 feet.
Kuhne is also a teacher, so his farm is on the smaller side and includes about 300 trees on 5 acres in Everett.
"We have a fairly good variety," he said. "It was very busy last year."
Address: 127 Hardin Hollow Road, Smithfield.
Phone number: 724-860-8210.
Hours: Open starting Nov. 26 from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Bossio, who helps run the farm with owners Jim and Will Rockis, said Quarter Pine has a tight supply of trees that can be cut down on site, but they ship trees from their West Virginia farm, too.
"Anyone who comes to the farm will walk away with a tree," she said.
She said their trees grow between 4 and 7 feet high, and include Douglas pines, Canaan firs and Fraser firs.
"We've never had a customer walk away disappointed," said.
Address: 180 Staple Drive, Somerset.
Phone number: 814-270-8444.
Hours: Open house from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dec. 4.
Painter Pines Christmas Tree Farm is closed for the 2021 season because the farm was unable to trees this year, according to a phone message.
The farm will instead host an open house with holiday festivities from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dec. 4.
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This article originally appeared on The Daily American: Christmas tree farms near Somerset County, PA