Local tree farmers take a bough

Lee growers have array of evergreens
Dec. 21, 2013 @ 05:02 AM

For two Lee County farmers, Christmastime isn’t just a holiday — it’s a way of life.

A.K. Griffin’s site, Griffin Evergreens, and John Hall’s Christmas Tree Patch will both be open to sell their local Christmas trees this weekend.

North Carolina is the nation’s second largest producer of Christmas trees, and both of the local farmers offer quality products, according to Lee County N.C. Cooperative Extension Director Susan Condlin.

“We want to promote our local farmers,” she said. “Both John and A.K. grow excellent trees.”

Griffin Evergreens is located at 1823 Broadway Road, and Griffin has been growing trees since 1970.

“I have enjoyed it,” he said. “It’s a lot of hard work, but it’s enjoyable — especially in December when the little kids come running around and [are] looking to get their tree.”

Most of his customers buy trees year after year, with some coming to him for 25 years for their annual tree, Griffin said.

“We still have a good selection at this late date if anyone still needs one,” he said. “We will be here right until Christmas Eve.”

Griffin Evergreens is open every day until Christmas Day from 1 to 7 p.m. (until sunset on Christmas Eve) and all day Saturday.

The Christmas Tree Patch, located at 1747 Henley Road, will also be open this weekend.

Hall, a former Cooperative Extension director for Lee County, first began to grow his Christmas trees in 1986.

“I wanted to prove that it could be done and done well locally,” he said. It takes planting in the winter and early spring and pruning throughout the summer, but the reward is the beautiful trees that follow, he said.

A majority of his customers, at least in recent years, have been military families from Fort Bragg, Hall said. Many of these young families are interested in cutting their own tree from the patch, taking photos and creating new traditions for their families, he said.

“That’s the reward,” Hall said, “to see these families making a tradition.”

The Christmas Tree Patch will be open today from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and from 1 to 6 p.m. Sunday.