For Immediate Release - November 29, 2013

Patrick Administration Kicks Off the Holiday Season with Annual Christmas Tree Cutting Ceremony

GROVELAND – Friday, November 29, 2013 – Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Environment Undersecretary Maeve Vallely Bartlett and Department of Agricultural Resources (DAR) Commissioner Greg Watson today joined local legislators, town officials and community members at the Crane Neck Christmas Tree Farm to kick off the holiday season by harvesting a locally grown Christmas tree.

“Massachusetts Christmas trees are the perfect way to celebrate local farmers and the holiday season,” said Undersecretary Maeve Vallely Bartlett. “With 284 farms offering trees for purchase across the Commonwealth, you don’t need to travel far to find a beautiful tree for your home.“

“Going out to a local Christmas tree farm is great fun for the family and full of the holiday spirit,” said Commissioner Watson. “In addition to being the freshest trees possible, locally grown Christmas trees are renewable, recyclable and an important part of the Massachusetts economy.”

During the annual Christmas tree cutting event, Commissioner Watson encouraged Massachusetts residents to buy locally grown trees from one of the Commonwealth’s many Christmas tree farms. He also urged everyone to celebrate the holiday season with locally sourced and environmentally friendly gifts.

Christmas tree production is a sustainable agricultural practice. As a crop, trees are continually replenished. Nearly 98 percent of all Christmas trees are grown on farms, limiting negative impact on forests. Based on the last USDA agricultural census, there are 284 farms with 3,164 acres in production and more than 75,900 trees cut across the Commonwealth.

The Crane Neck Christmas Tree Farm is owned in partnership by Jeb Brackbill and Bill Latham. Their 15 acre West Newbury farm location has been farmed for 45 years in the Brackbill Family.  After seven years of planting on their ten acre expansion field in Groveland, they have around 8,000 Douglas Fir trees.

“After seven years of hard work and anticipation, we are excited to harvest Christmas trees at our new Wood Street location in Groveland,” said Brackbill. “It’s a fresh chapter in our family’s history.”

For a list of Christmas tree farms across the Commonwealth, visit DAR’s MassGrown website. For information on tree selection, visit the Massachusetts Christmas Tree Association’s website.

Logo: Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources DAR’s mission is to ensure the long-term viability of agriculture in Massachusetts. Through its four divisions – Agricultural Conservation & Technical Assistance, Agricultural Markets, Animal Health, and Crop and Pest Services – DAR strives to support, regulate and enhance the rich diversity of the Commonwealth’s agricultural community to promote economically and environmentally sound food safety and animal health measures, and fulfill agriculture’s role in energy conservation and production. For more information, visit DAR's website at www.mass.gov/agr, and/or follow at twitter.com/MDARcommish.

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