Business booming for Sussex area Christmas tree farmer

·2 min read

One New Brunswick Christmas tree grower says business is booming this year despite, or maybe even because of, the COVID-19 pandemic.

Laura Folkins owns L and R Evergreens, a Christmas tree farm in Kierstead Mountain near Sussex.

She said she has already shipped plenty of trees, and it's only the first week of December.

"There seems to be a real uptake on the wholesale level," said Folkins.

"Those trees have all been shipped because stateside they want them for the American Thanksgiving or around that time. And then we ship a lot to Alberta and just because of the distance, they have to go fairly early in November."

Traffic up at U-Cut

But, it's not just the markets in the U.S. and Alberta that are booming.

Folkins said she's seen more visitors to the farm's U-Cut, which she attributes to the pandemic keeping people closer to home.

"The snowbirds aren't going south or a lot of them aren't," said Folkins.

"A lot of people working from home. So they're saying, 'Well, I guess we're going to be here, we might as well fix up and put some lights on and just feel festive'."

She also said more people have been abandoning artificial trees lately, getting bored with the same tree year after year.

"That's the wonderful thing about a real tree, is that it's never the same next year," said Folkins.

"No matter how hard you try to duplicate it … there's something different in what nature provides for us."

She said she used to sell a lot of trees to Ontario, but a past glut of trees dried up that market.

She then discovered the Alberta market was in need of trees.

Maritimes pining for firs

Folkins said spruce will grow in Alberta but it's generally too dry to grow the balsam fir she produces, and that's what many people are looking for, including some New Brunswick expats.

"There's an awful lot of Maritimers in Alberta and spruce doesn't cut it for them," said Folkins.

"They want a fir. They want something that reminds them of home."

Folkins said COVID-19 protocols are in place, meaning people will have to wear masks when they visit the U-Cut and stay in their household bubble.

But there's lots of room for physical distancing and plenty of trees left.

"I can't imagine that we've ever run out of trees," said Folkins.