Sellers surprised by high demand for big evergreens

Families who are waiting until the weekend to buy their Christmas trees may be in for a shock.

Across the board, retailers throughout Hilo are unable to keep up with demand for the big evergreens as the holiday spirit inspires shoppers to open their wallets.

“All over Hilo, there are less Christmas trees this year,” said Chris Behle of KTA Super Stores on Puainako Street. “They better get ’em now.”

“There are way less trees this year. People are asking for certain varieties, certain types of trees, and they aren’t there any more,” he said. “The public needs to know there’s no trees out there. They’re running out.”

Behle wouldn’t say how many trees KTA has ordered, but he confirmed that those on display at the front of the store are the last of their shipment. As of midday Tuesday, everything higher than 7 feet had sold out.

“I really felt in the recession, people would go for a reasonable-sized tree,” Behle said. Now, he feels that if a store ordered 200 10-footers, they’d be all gone.

“I don’t think you can find a big tree on this island,” Behle said.

Lesley Hill, the proprietor of Paradise Plants, said that interest is so strong that some people want to preorder their trees for Christmas 2011.

This year, big is back. Paradise Plants’ tallest trees were priced at a high of $245, but they were sold out in the first day and a half after going on sale. Like KTA, the store still carries trees for as low as $30, but almost all are between 4 and 7 feet.

Locally Grown Christmas Trees in Hawaii | Ocean Girl Project Sustainable Surf Camp Blog

Want to buy a locally grown Christmas tree this year, while supporting environmental education in Hawai’i?

Helemano Farms is a family farm in Central O’ahu that offers locally grown Christmas trees that you pick and they cut! The Kokua Hawaii foundation has advanced-sale Helemano Farms Christmas Tree Tickets available online at:

$10 of that sale will be donated to Kokua Hawai’i Foundation to support environmental education in Hawai’i schools and communities.

For a listing of other organizations you may be able to support through this sale please contact Helemano Farms at

Locally Grown Christmas Trees in Hawaii | Ocean Girl Project Sustainable Surf Camp Blog

Real Christmas Trees are an Affordable, Environmentally Conscious Way to Celebrate the Holiday Season

SOURCE Pacific Northwest Christmas Tree Association

Sustainably Grown, Real Christmas Trees From the Pacific Northwest are Now Arriving at Local Lots

PORTLAND, Ore., Nov. 9, 2010 /PRNewswire/ — It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, and for growers in the Pacific Northwest the holiday season is in full swing as they begin to harvest this year’s crop of real, farm-grown Christmas trees.

The Pacific Northwest is home to more than 1,000 individual Christmas tree farmers who supply a majority of the real Christmas trees purchased in California, Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona and other Southwestern states. Grown on sustainable farms, real trees are grown just like produce, nuts or other crops, so they do not threaten natural forests, a common misconception.

“Choosing a real Christmas tree is an environmentally conscious choice because of the way they are grown; in fact, many trees are grown in soil that won’t support other crops,” said Mike Bondi, professor and extension faculty for Oregon State University’s College of Forestry. “People can feel good about purchasing real trees because they help reduce carbon emissions by absorbing carbon dioxide and producing oxygen, which benefits people, plants and the environment.”

Additionally, real Christmas trees are renewable and growers plant one or more to replace every tree they harvest. Real trees can also be recycled and turned into mulch or compost, so no waste goes in to landfills.

Funds Located May Prevent Agriculture Cuts – KITV Honolulu

HONLULU — The head of the state agriculture department said Wednesday she’s located funds to cut in half the number of agriculture inspectors who may be laid off because of the state’s budget crisis.

The Lingle administration plans to use money from a new user fee that the governor tried to veto two years ago.

In August, the state notified 50 agriculture inspectors they could be laid off — that’s two-thirds of the staff who check Christmas Trees and incoming produce for invasive pests like snakes and insects.

The farming industry is upset, because a lack of inspectors will slow down outgoing shipments of everything from corn seed to fish grown in aquaculture operations.

The Chairperson of the State Agriculture Department said she plans to use money from two funds to cut the amount of layoffs in half to 25 inspectors.

"That would give us some breathing room as we continue to look for more funds and at least to stave off the initial layoffs during this period," said state agriculture chairwoman Sandra Kunimoto.