Trees have always been big in the High Country, but this year they’re bigger than ever.

With the Christmas tree season officially under way in Avery, Ashe and Watauga counties, more local and out-of-town families than ever are choosing and cutting their way into the heart of our communities.

Driven in large part by the pandemic, families are looking for entertainment where they can find it, and especially of the outside variety. With Christmas on the horizon — 23 days and counting! — the High Country’s choose-and-cut farms offer a perfect day(s) trip for families across North Carolina and our near neighbors in other states.

Indeed, so popular is the pastime this year that some smaller farms have already closed sales for the season — not because they’ve tired of the business already this year, but in order to save stock for Christmases of the future.

Of course, the driver behind all of this is the labor of love put forth by our farmers. Growing Christmas trees is no easy task. A process that must be planned years in advance is also one that requires daily maintenance. This is no two-month enterprise. When the rest of us are enjoying the heat of a Fourth of July weekend, farmers and helpers are in the fields, tending to a crop most of us won’t even think about for another five months.

And so today we offer a tribute to those who do think about this High Country cash crop every single day of the year. But importantly, to those who bring more than tourism and sales into our communities. This is to those who bring the spirit of Christmas, itself.

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