It was bound to happen: organic Christmas trees

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Deck the halls with boughs of organic holly. Photo by *Bitch Cakes* via Flickr

Produce, sure, pesticides are bad. Meat, well, yea who knows what those weird poultry plumping hormones could do to us. But organic Christmas trees? Really? Besides the pretentious bragging rights attached to buying a (more expensive) “organic” tree, is there really any reason for a tree that exists entirely to be chopped down, adorned with tinsel and then die in a week to be chemical-free? Unless some hip artisanal restaurant is making Douglass Fir soup, what’s the point?

According to the proprietor of Windswept Farm, an herbicide and pesticide free x-mas tree farm in Vermont that has set up pine-scented shop on a Cobble Hill street corner, the trees take significantly more care and much longer to grow without fertilizers and pesticides that prevent insects from damaging the aesthetics of the tree. Where non-organic trees reach 7 or 8 feet in seven or eight years, his trees take up to 10 or 12 years to reach full festive holiday readiness height. But surprisingly, at $10 a foot, they’re pretty comparably priced to non-organic alternatives and resisting inflation according to our x-mas ’09 tree bargain roundup.

Brooklyn Daily quotes a DUMBO mom who said she went for an organic tree because she is concerned about the health of her kids. I’d like you to find me one report of a kid or pet dying because of chemical poisoning from a Christmas tree. Fine, I get that people with kids get crazy protective. If you’re the type of person that generally buys organic, then you’re used to paying a bit more anyway. And if you have an extra $100+ to spend on an already dying plant intended only for decorative purposes, then sure, why not splurge for the organic tree and support a small business instead of a mass producing x-mas tree sweatshop.

Also, the organic tree farmer said pesticide free trees last 50 percent longer than standard trees. So that’s a bonus if you’re one of those people who procrastinates taking the tree down until the needles are spraying off everywhere leaving a sticky mess in the hallway for all your neighbors to drag back into their apartments.

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  1. The benefits of organic growing aren’t limited to the end product–an organically grown tree means fewer pesticides in the land and water where it was grown, and fewer pesticides affecting the farmer, their family, and their neighbors. Not all organic farming is sustainable farming, but it’s still often preferable to pesticide-intensive methods.

  2. Same on the marketing wiz-kid who decided to boost the pricing of the trees at the Driggs and Manhatten Ave stand (pictured above).

    Last year, I remember that same stand run by these cool Canadian kids. And the trees were no where near as expensive. Something changed, and now it just seems dishonest. I hope this isn’t evident of the inauthentic Williamsburg cultural norms creeping farther north into Brooklyn.

    Quick tip for all you Greenpointers – you can still get a great x-mas tree from most of the polish floral shops for around $25 – 35. Just tell them that your not looking to spend a lot of money. They will understand, while the hipsters will just try to justify their lunacy.

  3. I grew Christmas trees for 35 years. In 2002 I became the first USDA certified organic grower of Christmas trees. I didn’t switch over because I thought I could make more money. I changed because of the negative impact on our mountain streams and that all the counties in Western NC that have a large number of Christmas tree farms also have abnormally high incidences of childhood leukemia. I am no longer in the business for reasons unrelated to Christmas trees but if you would ever like to talk to someone who can give you information in this area and is level headed and non-judgmental, please contact me. Your article makes light of a subject that you have not researched.
    Sincerely yours, Curtis

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