Christmas Tree Transport | This May Be Your Tree Part II
Presently, hundreds of Christmas trees are flying sideways down the interstates of the east coast, zooming away from northcountry hayfields where they were raised, and barreling ever closer to your neighborhood. Case in point: Seth Johnson’s backed his trailer into the landing at Steve Moffatt’s Christmas Tree Farm in Craftsbury, VT. “Can you tell the […]
Presently, hundreds of Christmas trees are flying sideways down the interstates of the east coast, zooming away from northcountry hayfields where they were raised, and barreling ever closer to your neighborhood. Case in point: Seth Johnson’s backed his trailer into the landing at Steve Moffatt’s Christmas Tree Farm in Craftsbury, VT.
“Can you tell the difference between a balsam and a Fraser?” Steve Moffatt grills his hauler, Seth, a 34-year-old bean farmer from the next town over.
Seth grows beans and wheat, raises beef and horses, and moonlights as a trucker when his growing season grinds to a halt. This morning, Seth’s about to load the culmination of 10 years of Steve’s work planting, fertilizing, weeding, grooming, harvesting and baling.
Most of Steve’s tree markets have been pretty steady, but every now and then he gets a new contract, and this particular load is bound for a brand new tree seller, meaning a first time seller, meaning things’ll go better if Seth can show him the ropes, namely: how to distinguish the bushier, silvery needled frasers from their kissing cousins, the balsams.
Frasers are harder to grow—they’re exacting in their soil requirements, they don’t like damp land, but they make the best Christmas trees. So, for your prima dona conifer, Steve charges more. But Seth will probably to have to train the newbie to discern the difference.
Seth, who’s been trucking trees, among other things for seven years, is undaunted, even fluent you might say, in both cultures. He can coax 11,000 pounds of beans out of an iffy summer, and he can coast his 11,000 pound rig through Brooklyn’s one way and double parked streets.
To get loaded, Seth climbs onto the 50-foot trailer and begins driving in the nine -foot bed stakes that gird his cargo. Then he begins packing trees that Steve and his assistant, Nate, bring up to the truckbed. Seth sets them in like shingles, like feathers, buts and tips sheltering each other, layer upon layer, until they’re cabled in and cinched down.
Steve hands Seth the paper work; they confirm the address: 6 Charles Place, Brooklyn. In the cab, Seth’s got his headset, GPS, maps, a CB radio, a sandwich, a thermos, a blanket, his DOT documents, his log book and a Santa hat.
Seth’s big diesel truck makes a left out of the farm drive onto Wildbranch Road, and a small, swaddled forest goes with him.
Part I: Moffatt’s Christmas Tree Farm | This May Be Your TreePart III: Life of a Christmas Tree Seller | This May Be Your Tree