Moffatt’s Christmas Tree Farm | This May Be Your Tree
North of where you’re reading this, there’s a hayfield with rolling hills, and in a certain portion which probably made poor hay, a farmer thought, “Well, let’s try some balsams.” And in the spring of 2003, he did. Had you visited this plantation last week, you would have wandered across the sprawling meadow into a […]
North of where you’re reading this, there’s a hayfield with rolling hills, and in a certain portion which probably made poor hay, a farmer thought, “Well, let’s try some balsams.” And in the spring of 2003, he did.
Had you visited this plantation last week, you would have wandered across the sprawling meadow into a shadowy grove of decade-old trees.
But if you stopped by this morning, you’d hardly know this was the birth place of a thousand Christmas trees. From a distance, fresh snow covers the trimmed boughs and low stumps in the open field, but coming close, you can see hundreds of the pungent firs stacks neatly. In a matter of days and miles, any one of these trees might rise again in your living room.
For Steve Moffatt, a third generation tree farmer in Craftsbury, Vt., what began as his grandfather’s sideline enterprise to dairy farming—cutting wild conifers in old cow pastures, became his father’s full- time cultivated tree farm. Now Steve manages 120,000 Christmas trees on parcels of land spread out across five towns in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom.
This morning, Steve and his dad, Jim, and the crew of four more have driven out to one of their leased fields, a field planted ten years ago by an enterprising Orleans, Vt. dairy farmer.
Here, in the high rolling hayfield, Jim Moffatt begins feeding the cut trees into the baler, a device which twines the boughs down, shutting the tree like an umbrella.
Nearby, Steve has climbed into the bed of the tree truck. Below, his crew-member, Nick uses one hand to grip the tree near the stump as his other hand snugs under the twine. He lifts and heaves the tree onto the conveyor, which delivers it to Steve who grabs it and packs it in the truck, careful of the tip—which, in the cold, can snap just like glass. And a tree without a tip, he warns, is useless.
All morning Steve and his crew bear hug the balsams. Every single one is carried to the baler, carried off the baler and offered up to Steve until the truck is teeming.
Then, back at the home farm in Craftsbury, each tree is lifted again and passed off the truck to another who carries it to a pile destined for points south.
This Saturday, the Saturday before Thanksgiving, the first big transport trucks will back into the Moffatt’s yard and load up for deliveries ranging from Burlington, Vermont to Brooklyn, NY.
This is how a sweet fragrant tree from a field in the north begins its journey.
Moffatt’s Tree Farm is on the Wildbranch Road in Craftsbury, VT
For more information, visit vtxmastrees.comPart II:Christmas Tree Transport | This May Be Your TreePart III: Life of a Christmas Tree Seller | This May Be Your Tree