In celebration of the Massachusetts Christmas tree industry, the Baker-Polito Administration, in conjunction with the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) and the Massachusetts Christmas Tree Association, declared Friday, November 26, 2021 as “Green Friday.”
Green Friday encourages people throughout the state to visit their local Christmas tree farms to purchase their Christmas trees, holiday plants, ornamental swags, and wreaths to fulfill their holiday decorating needs.
To celebrate Green Friday, MDAR Commissioner John Lebeaux participated in the annual Christmas tree cutting ceremony at Seekonk Tree Farm in Great Barrington, which has between 20-25 acres of Christmas trees spread across three locations.
“Like most of the state’s agricultural commodities, Christmas tree farms impact both the environment and the economy in a multitude of ways”, said Governor Charlie Baker. “The Christmas tree industry has an important role within the Commonwealth, including removing carbon dioxide in the air, creating habitats for wildlife and enabling residents an opportunity to shop locally and purchase holiday decorations from one of the state’s multi-generational family-operated farms.”
“Massachusetts’ 265 Christmas tree farms contribute $3.5 million to the local economy, and it is critical that we continue to support this important agricultural sector,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “Significantly, the Christmas tree season here in Massachusetts provides hundreds of seasonal jobs at these farms, providing an economic boost to many.”
“Every year, Green Friday helps us to spotlight the environmental benefits of choosing a fresh Massachusetts Christmas tree,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides. “The many benefits of purchasing a real tree include maintaining open space, reducing the number of artificial trees entering landfills, and providing an opportunity for families to get in the holiday spirit with a fun, outdoor activity.”
The Governor’s Proclamation was read declaring November 26, 2021, as “Green Friday” providing several reasons to choose a Massachusetts Christmas Tree, as well as other live ornamentals including wreathes, swags, poinsettias, and other live green decorations.
“Our department is proud to support this industry by mapping many of these Christmas tree farm locations on our MassGrown map, as well as providing grant opportunities for these farm to diversify their offerings,” said MDAR Commissioner John Lebeaux.“We are happy to be visiting Seekonk Tree Farm, which received a 2020 AIP grant to upgrade and renovate their Christmas barn and expand their family business.”
Christmas tree farms, which are often sited on soils that cannot support other crops, stabilize soil, helping to prevent erosion and protect water supplies. Christmas trees also help sequester carbon dioxide and provide habitats to birds and other wildlife throughout the year. There is a wide variety of Massachusetts-grown trees, which includes Balsam, Concolor, Fraser, Douglas and Noble Fir, along with Scotch and White Pine. When chipped, the trees can be used as a renewable source of energy to be burned as fuel, used as mulch, or composted.
“Seekonk Tree Farm is proud to represent the many Christmas Tree Farms across the state by hosting the annual Christmas Tree Cutting Ceremony Green Friday opening the season for 2021,” said Peter Sweet Jr., co-owner of Seekonk Tree Farms. “After 40 years in business, offering a complete customer experience, we took a major step in expanding our business in 2020 with the assistance of an AIP grant from MDAR. We built a farm stand/Christmas shop and main facility for our tree farm to expand our offerings and improve service and efficiency.”
“Western Mass has long been the heart of our agriculture industry,” said Senator Adam Hinds (D-Pittsfield). “Continuing to promote the use of fresh, locally grown Christmas trees allows residents from across the region to bring home a piece of the Berkshires, while also supporting local businesses, and the environment.”
“Not only are Christmas Trees the source of so many joyful memories, but they are a staple of our Commonwealth’s agricultural sector,” said Representative Smitty Pignatelli (D-Lenox). “It is critical that we continue to support this industry, provide good-paying jobs and help families bring evergreen cheer into their homes for years to come.”
For more information, please visit the MassGrown website to find Christmas tree farms and nurseries across the state.