STITTSVILLE — Ontario’s Christmas tree farmers are expecting a gangbuster year with trees in short supply.
Fallowfield Tree Farm at Stittsville, west of Ottawa, was selling trees south of the border by mid-November. With pandemic lockdowns keeping people home, American retailers were paying “top dollar,” and buying lots of trees.
At nearby North Gower, Thomas Tree Farm saw a 20 per cent increase in business on its opening weekend in November, said owner Christine Thomas. But COVID-19 can’t take all the credit. Interest in cut-your-own trees has been increasing for the past few years, she said.
The Christmas Tree Farm at Harrowsmith, in Frontenac County, sold 800 trees last year and expects to sell over 1,000 this year, said owner Jim Labours. The farm started offering online orders this year in mid-November and had 25 orders in under two weeks.
Labours added that he’s been talking with other farms in Canada and the U.S., and it seems like there’s a shortage everywhere. A lot of farmers switched Christmas trees for cash crops, while other growers retired with nobody to take over, he said. “It’s a good time to be in the business, if you can handle it.”