WATAUGA COUNTY — Only four of the 12 registered Watauga County Christmas Tree Association Choose and Cut farms will be open to the public during the weekend of Dec. 8-9, according to the farm owners.
The successful choose and cut season has resulted in eight farms closing to the public, due to being sold out of their 2018 inventory.
Watauga County is known for its choose and cut farms, usually open from the week before Thanksgiving through mid-December. This includes what Jim Hamilton of the Watauga County Cooperative Extension calls “Fraser Friday,” the Friday after Thanksgiving, which is typically the busiest tree-selling day.
In mid-November, 12 choose and cut farms opened in Watauga, a decrease from the 14 that were open in 2017.
Bluestone Greenery in Sugar Grove is open this weekend, Dec. 8-9, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., according to co-owner Skylar Wilcox.
“The weather’s been a challenge, but we’ve pushed through that,” Wilcox said. “We have a good selection of trees of all sizes.”
Wilcox said it’s been “a little bit busier” than last year.
C&J Christmas Trees in Boone is sold out and closed for the season, according to an automatic voice message.
Circle C Tree Farms in Boone is having its last weekend of the season on Dec. 8-9, per its website, from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. All remaining trees are eight feet or shorter.
Panoramic View Christmas Tree Farm of Boone is closed for the season, according to owner Joey Clawson, but his other farm, Clawson’s Choose and Cut, also of Boone, is open through Dec. 9 for trees eight feet and under.
“Sales continually rise each year for a couple reasons,” Clawson said. “First, the very-good quality of trees I grow, and I’m trying to grow more … and second, there are fewer farms.”
Clawson said the weather, with ice storms and rain, hasn’t cooperated this season, but they’re doing the best they can.
Cornett Deal Christmas Tree Farm in Vilas is closed to the general public, according to co-owner Diane Cornett Deal.
“If I did not close down, I wouldn’t have trees for next year,” Deal said. “We had a phenomenal year, a very busy year.” We opened the week before Thanksgiving despite the nasty weather.”
Joey Miller, owner of Miller Choose and Cut in Boone, said in a message that he is closed for the year to let his farm grow bigger for next year.
Poplar Grove Choose and Cut in Boone is closed for the season, according to owner Graham Ferrell.
“It was a great season, our first year, and we had a real positive response,” Ferrell said. “We look forward to doing it again next year. We enjoy seeing the families come together and enjoy being in the mountains.”
RRR Tree Farm in Todd is only open by appointment, according to owner Wayne Phillips.
“Our inventory is depleted,” Phillips said. “We’re trying to sell a few trees. Most of our trees are gone.”
Phillips said it was a successful season despite the problems of having a small-scale family-operated farm.
“There’s tremendous demand, but it’s hard to get the labor,” Phillips said. “People like to see the agro-tourism operations and like coming onto the farm.”
Stone Mountain Farms in Trade, Tenn., will be open Dec. 7-9 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., according to owner Tracy Taylor, with trees ranging from three to nine feet with “some 10-footers.”
“It’s been doing very well,” Taylor said. “The weather has been a slight factor with a few days of rain and some of snow.”
Taylor said it’s been busier this year compared to last year.
Eleanor Lieberman of Swinging Bridge Farm in Deep Gap said they are closed for the season.
“It’s a great season for us, not for the customers,” Lieberman said. “It’s not great when all the trees are gone by Thanksgiving.”
Walker Farm in Boone is also closed for the season.
To find out about the availability of trees at a farm, call the Watauga County Christmas Tree Association at (828) 264-3061 on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. On Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., call High Country Host (828) 264-1299 for farm information.
Christmas tree farm information is also available visit www.wataugachristmastrees.org/choose-and-cut-christmas-trees.html.