Organic Christmas Trees
On a seasonal if not food-related note, I wanted to share some tips on finding an eco-friendly Christmas tree. I am a firm believer in real trees – they absorb carbon dioxide, produce oxygen, are replanted and biodegradable, and support green spaces that could otherwise be developed into new subdivisions – but I’m embarrassed to admit I hadn’t really thought of going organic with our holiday tree despite having first-hand experience with Christmas tree pesticides as a child. I grew up in the Christmas tree capital of the US, Oregon. On a mountain, in fact, with Christmas tree farms just across the road. We used to sled down the access road whenever it snowed, and there were beaver ponds at the bottom where we would glide around on the ice when they froze over. (Hope my mom isn’t reading this, I’m pretty sure we weren’t supposed to go on the ponds! They rarely froze that solidly…) Anyway, that’s all well and good but a couple times a year they were sprayed by plane, and my mother would chase us down and confine us to the indoors for a couple days while we waited for the spray to settle. So while your Christmas tree may not have a high level of lingering chemical residue, since it does gradually wash off with rain, choosing organic is still beneficial for the health of those who live near Christmas trees! Not to mention the run off into our water and soil.
I started searching after a Twitter friend mentioned ordering a certified organic tree from North Carolina. This terrific guide notes farms that are certified or low-spray; personally, certification doesn’t matter so much to me, I’m just happy to know that we can get an eco-friendly tree without having to drive too much farther than we normally do. I’ll report back on Monday about our experience at our local natural tree farm.
Oh, and in case you were wondering, no we didn’t get free Christmas trees in exchange for the inconvenience of living next door to a farm. I’m not sure the owners of that farm even lived in the area. We did have a family-owned tree farm up the road (which did their spraying by hand and kindly informed the neighboring parents to warn us not to play there), and it kills me now that we thought their $15 dollar trees were expensive. Let’s just say we pay several times that here on the other, less tree-populated coast. My tree-hugging mom (yes, it runs in the family), objected to cutting down trees for pleasure so we had to choose our scraggly trees from under the path of the power lines, where they were destined to be trimmed anyway. We had a high (30 feet) ceiling in our living room and had some of the biggest, ugliest trees you could imagine. At least we always talked my mom out of her lighted dead branch hanging from the ceiling idea. But I’m sharing it with you as another option, in case you also share an affection for trees remaining in the ground and don’t want to expose your family to toxic lead/petroleum-based artificial trees…