Normally Tooele residents Julie Vario and her husband, Pat, would spend this week hectically preparing fresh-cut conifers from OR for sale at their family-run Christmas tree lot in Tooele County.
For the past 15 years, Blessed Sacrament Catholic Churchat 124 N. Roosevelt has run a charitable Christmas tree sale that starts the Friday after Thanksgiving.
Alas, this isn't the premise for a feel-good Christmas story that ends with Santa Claus flying in to save the day.
Tradition. That's why some Wabash Valley residents say they not only select a live Christmas tree each year, but visit a tree farm to ensure a fresh evergreen, often one cut down before their eyes.
"Indiana, Pennsylvania, a has a lot of great Christmas tree growers", said Soergel. A glut of trees in previous years saw a spike in the number of U.S. producers leaving the tree-growing industry after prices fell dramatically.
Most larger retailers, including J&T, saw this shortage coming.
He said it takes an average of five years to grow a Christmas tree. Rohlfs says since the recession, there's 40 percent fewer Christmas tree farmers in Oregon.
The low supply has created bidding wars among retailers, leaving some smaller operations like that of the Vario family's out to dry.
"We can't afford to pay that price - that's what we charged our customers", Julie Vario said.
"We usually put it up a week before Thanksgiving so this is a little late for us", one customer said. "We believe that GWD Forestry is in an excellent position this year to supply the southern states from our well-stocked farms, and the company is vigorously investing time and effort into expanding sales in the Miami area for 2017". "The longer a tree grows, the more apt they're going to get diseases". They typically spend this week preparing fresh-cut conifers from OR, but for the first time in 65 years, they're treeless.
You can buy Frazier firs, ranging in size from three to twelve feet.
While they sell an experience as much as a tree, most tree farms strive to keep prices competitive. But he said he also had another creative solution up his sleeve: local conifers.
"Really, what I hope people leave with, even more than a Christmas tree, is that they leave with a treasured memory", she said. Miami was already under serious consideration as a possible entry point due to its wealthy population, who still prefer to buy real trees from traditional Christmas tree lots.
Sellers said the first two Saturdays in December are the busiest tree shopping days.
"It's tough, but we're doing it, and we're really excited about it", he said. To get the best tree for your home, Christmas tree farmers suggest getting your tree early, but not too early.
"We have had a couple of nice years the past couple of years", Clawson said.
The downturn in the economy in 2008 hit tree growers nationally.