11/29/04 — Wayne Christmas tree farmers expect good sales this holiday season

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Wayne Christmas tree farmers expect good sales this holiday season

By Sam Atkins
Published in News on November 29, 2004 2:00 PM

Owners of Christmas tree farms in Wayne and Duplin counties are expecting good sales this year, even with the growing popularity of artificial trees.

"Many people want a real tree," said Jimmy Hinson, co-owner of Teri-Jim's Christmas Trees at 350 Ruskin Road near Dudley.

Picking out a tree is a tradition for families, and they like the smell of a real tree, he said. Artificial trees are not recyclable and burn faster if they were to catch on fire, he added.

Hinson runs the farm with his father, Donald, and wife, Teri. They started planting trees in 1984 and selling them in 1989. The farm is open seven days a week and also has wreaths; handmade, adjustable tree stands; hay rides and tours.

They grow Leyland cypress, red cedars, white pines and Virginia pines. Each requires different levels of care that starts when they are seedlings. The five-acre farm has about 5,000 trees.

People come from all over Wayne County and outside come to pick out their trees. The trees have a double price tag on them, which customers tear off to show Hinson the price.

He then takes a truck out and cuts it down. He uses a mechanized tree shaker to get all of the loose needles off and then bags the trees before loading them. They also have some pre-cut trees and some people bring their own saw to cut a tree, added Hinson.

He said most people want 7- to 8-foot trees, but he has sold several 13-footers to churches and other organizations. In a good year, he will sell 500 to 600 trees.

The lot is open from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and opens around 1 p.m. on Sunday. For more information, call 735-8140.

Beautancus Christmas Trees and Wreaths opened for the season on Nov. 20 and is on Beautancus Road, six miles outside of Mount Olive. It has about 1,000 trees for sale, including Leyland cypress, red cedars, white pines and some Fraser firs, which range in height from 5 feet to 10 feet and some are up to 15 feet tall.

Customers choose a tree, pick up a tag and show it to an employee, who will cut it down. The farm also offers hay rides, wreaths, hand-tied bows, tree stands, handmade ornaments and pecans.

Brownie Southerland, co-owner, said they are having to compete with artificial trees, but they are able to guarantee their product.

They will be selling trees seven days a week from 9 a.m. to dark up to Dec. 23 or 24. Brownie and Suzanne Southerland are the farm's owners, and the farm is operated by Glenn and Maria Price. For more information, call 658-4512.

Another place people can purchase trees is at the Kenansville Christmas Tree Farm at 488 N.C. 11 S.

Allen Jones, son of owner Whit Jones, estimated that the farm has about 400 to 500 Virginia pines, 150 Fraser firs and will have a variety of potted trees available. They also have wreaths.

Jones said that artificial trees are not really affecting business because they have a growing number of customers this year, including some from outside of North Carolina.

It opened for business on Thursday and is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, call 910 296-0829.

Radford Tree Farm opened Friday and is at 1476-B Old Smithfield Road in Rosewood. Glenn Radford, owner, has around 150 trees ranging in size from 5 to 12 feet tall, including Leyland cypress and white pines. They also have pre-cut Fraser firs and a Christmas shop with a variety of crafts and wreaths.

He said their toughest competition is from the big chain stores because they can sell the trees cheaper. Some people have switched to artificial trees because they want something simpler, he said. That has hurt their business a little.

People should call before they come Monday through Thursday. Its hours on Friday and Saturday are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, call 734-2882.

The Optimist Club of Goldsboro has lots on Cashwell Street and Mall Road that opened on Monday. It has trees ranging in size from 6 to 12 feet tall and all of the proceeds will go toward needy children. They have only Fraser firs available along with Christmas wreaths and Fraser fir roping.

The lot is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call Louwanna Pender at 734-0793 or 222-9601.