Harold Hill, who farms eight acres of pines and firs near Minburn in central Iowa’s Dallas County, says he had record tree sales over the Thanksgiving holiday, going through about half his annual inventory in three days.
“We ordinarily sell about 400 and we were just short of 200 the first weekend,” Hill says. “We have just a very small crew here that helps us. We get a lot of repeat families that come back year after year, sometimes three generations, grandparents, parents and grandchildren coming to pick out a tree or trees.”
Overall, about 1,500 acres of Iowa farmland is devoted to Christmas tree production, with nearly 40,000 trees harvested every fall. Christmas trees are a one-million dollar industry in Iowa. Hill was asked how individual trees are priced on his farm. “It depends on the species,” Hill says. “The pines are going for between $5 and $6 a foot, for the firs, from $6 to the highest priced firs are up to about $10 a foot.”
In addition to supporting an Iowa farmer, Hill says real trees often look better than fake ones, and he says you can’t beat the smell of a freshly-cut evergreen filling the house.”Every year we get new people who say they’ve either had an artificial tree and want to go to a real tree or this is the first time they’ve gotten a tree,” Hill says. “We’ve seen a gradual increase in volume in the last five or six years.”
A directory of tree farms is available on the Iowa Christmas Tree Grower’s website at www.IowaChristmasTrees.com.