'Real' Christmas trees still available for purchase
The tradition of seeking the perfect 'real' Christmas tree is not lost in this age of high tech, pre-lit, artificial trees. In fact, real Christmas tree vendors, say that "business is good." The reasons consumers have for purchasing a real Christmas tree include upholding family traditions and environmental factors, but most say it's for that "fresh pine smell of Christmas."
Jen Ashcraft of Goshen said, "I've had a real Christmas tree for as long as I can remember. Growing up we would go to Island Park and pick out a tree every year. Now we get a real tree at Stop n Shop in Firth every year."
Dennis Parker of Blackfoot said it is a family to tradition to go to Island Park the week after Thanksgiving and cut down a Christmas tree.
Ed Stacey who has run Santa's Forest across from Les Schwab in Blackfoot for the past three seasons, said tree sales are good this year. "I have already sold 20 more trees this year, than I did last year at this time," he said.
Stacey said his trees come from a Christmas tree farm in Oregon and that they are not cut until after Thanksgiving to ensure that his customers get a 'fresh tree.'
Kelly Kesler, owner of Kesler's Market in Blackfoot, has sold fresh trees from Sandpoint through the years. He has found the task of selling Christmas trees to to be a bit easier than in years past, now that he has a greenhouse at the store to maintain humidity and keep the trees nice and fresh.
"I have a lot of loyal Christmas tree customers that come here every year," Kesler said. "I have people who may not have had a fresh tree for awhile, but their kids are coming for the holidays and they want to have a real, traditional tree."
Ed Spencer, a retired banker currently living in Rigby, has provided fresh Christmas trees to Stop n Shop on Main Street in Firth for 30 years. He and his son, Dan, personally travel to Montana after Thanksgiving where they handpick the trees, chop them down and deliver them fresh to vendors in Idaho and Utah.
"Stop n Shop has been my oldest and best customer," Spencer stated. "I bring them about 140 trees and they will usually sell out."
Spencer said he is passionate about his family-owned Christmas tree business and that his son shares the same passion to continue the business for many years to come.
A real Christmas tree from vendors around east Idaho, costs between $25 and $80. For those who enjoy going to the forest and chopping down their own Christmas tree, tree permits can be purchased from the Forest Service for $10.