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Easton Tree Farmer Gets Ready for Holiday Rush

EASTON, Conn. — Sure, the care that goes into owning a Christmas tree can seem like a process — there's the watering, the trimming and the decorating — but it doesn't even compare to the time it takes to grow one and get it to your living room, says Easton farmer Jim Edwards.

Easton can be considered the holy grail of Christmas tree farms in Fairfield County. Just do a quick Google search and dozens of Christmas farms in the town pop up. Some of the farms in Easton have been thriving for centuries while others have been around only a few years.

It’s hard not to notice the signs on almost every street corner promoting local Christmas tree farms. One farm, Maple Row on North Park Avenue, has been around since the 1700s although it has been growing Christmas trees exclusively for only a half century.

The 200-acre Maple Row Tree Farm has been owned and operated by Jim Edwards and his two sons, David and Scott, for decades. It wasn’t until the 1960s when the farm switched over to the trees.

"Since then, we haven’t really looked back, we have been expanding ever since,” current owner Scott Edwards said.

A Christmas tree starts with two- to three-year-old seedlings that grow in one of the farm's nurseries for about two years. At any given time, Edwards said, there are between 30,000 and 80,000 seedlings inside the nurseries.

Once the seedlings have grown into full-fledged plants, they are brought outside into the fields where they will grow about one foot per year. The average decorated tree inside a family’s living room on Christmas, Edwards said, is 13 to 15 years old. “It’s pretty wild when you think about it,” he said.

As soon as the ground thaws, crews at Maple Row plant anywhere between 10,000 to 25,000 trees, 10 percent of which usually fail to grow. “The mortality rate can be as high as 50 percent if we had a bad weather season,” Edwards said.

This year, he trees at Maple Row have been thriving thanks to the heavy rain and warm weather, Edwards said.

“It has been a phenomenal year for us,” he said.

That phenomenal year has helped Maple Row cultivate various types of trees for this holiday season. Although the Douglas fir and the Colorado blue spruce are the most popular trees, Edwards said the farm has seven other variety of trees available, including the Canaan fir, Fraser fir, white spruce, Norway spruce, white pine and the Concolor fir.

When asked if he had any special tips for residents once they get their trees home, Edwards said, “There are so many things people say you should do but none of them have been scientifically proven."

"The only thing we can say is to water, water and water. Keeping the tree hydrated is most important. If you do that, then you are all set,” he said.

Cutting down a tree at Maple Row is quite an experience. The 200-acre farm is broken up into four smaller sections, which Edwards said “is designed to give a more intimate experience.” Christmas tree hunters are allowed to roam all over the property, walking as far back as possible in search for the perfect tree — just remember you might have to carry it back yourself.

If getting a pre-cut tree is more your thing, they are also available for purchase at the farm. All pre-cut trees, Edwards said, are cut a week prior to the season opening and said he guarantees they are all fresh and ready to take home for a long holiday. The farm also sells boughs, wreaths, ropes and stands.

“Cutting down your own tree is a great family experience. We have returning customers who have been coming here, every year, for years. It’s nice to be a part of those memories,” Edwards said.

Maple Row Tree Farm, located at 555 North Park Avenue , is open every day from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.. They will also be open on Christmas Eve until noon. The price of a tree during the weekdays is $52, on the weekends its $62.

JUST A FEW OF EASTON'S CHRISTMAS TREE FARMS:

• Snow’s Farm: 550 Sport Hill Rd. Has a variety of pre-cut trees with prices based on size and fullness of the tree. Snow’s Farm is open Monday to Saturday, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Sunday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

• Everett Tree Farm: Rt. 59 at Sherwood Rd. Has a variety of cut your own and precut trees for sale, any tree costs $50. Open only on the weekends between 9 a.m. and dusk.

• Ganim’s Tree Farm: 130 Center Rd. Any cut your own tree is $39.99. Prices and hours unavailable.

• Silverman’s Farm: 451 Sport Hill Rd. All trees are precut and prices vary on size and fullness of the tree. The farm is open everyday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

• Sabia Tree Farm: 772 Morehouse Rd. All pre-cut trees are $50. Hours of operation were unavailable.

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