Christmas trees are more than a decoration during the holidays.
They provide experiences, from picking out the perfect tree, to setting it up, decorating it and enjoying its beauty and smell throughout the holidays.
This year, two of Le Sueur’s own grown Christmas trees started providing experiences already in October and will continue to do so for many, as the trees have made their way to Washington, D.C., to be displayed publicly.
Brewery Hill Christmas Trees sent a 7-foot balsam fir and a 9.5-foot Fraser fir to the nation’s capital as part of the 2014 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree tour.
Minnesota was chosen this year to provide the Christmas trees to be on display in Washington, D.C. , and an 88-foot white spruce from Minnesota’s Chippewa National Forest was sent as the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree. The trees went on a 28-city tour on the way their final destination.
Brewery Hill Christmas Trees in Le Sueur is owned and operated by Scott and Mary Wilson and Jenny Wilson.
“It’s a cool thing because we don’t get to do this every year. It generates some excitement in the state,” Jenny Wilson said.
Wilson was elected to the Minnesota Christmas Tree Growers Association board, and has used her role to be proactive in the business.
Wilson is also an educator, teaching at St. Anne’s Catholic School in Le Sueur. Her role in the Christmas tree growing business and as an educator gave her the opportunity to write a k-12 curriculum to go with the Capitol Christmas Tree tour.
At each stop in route to D.C. local schools were able to bring their students to view the trees from Minnesota and the curriculum was distributed to those classed.
Wilson said the curriculum has been launched nationally and teaches students about the Christmas tree industry, geared both for elementary students and high school students.
One of the things the curriculum teaches is the economical and environmental benefit of having a real Christmas tree each year instead of an artificial tree.
Wilson said the recycling of air and having a real tree in the house is a benefit in that way, but as a tree grower, she also sees more benefits.
“We plant more trees than are harvested each year so it’s a replenishing factor. In our farm we create a habitat for all types of animals and insects,” Wilson said.
At their farm, up to 7,000 trees are planted a year and it takes about seven or eight years for the trees to be ready for harvest. Their selling season begins the day after Thanksgiving and Wilson said they will often sell up until Christmas Eve. They put a limit on how many they will harvest and sell each year, so when they reach their limit that’s when they close.
Wilson said that at their farm they use few chemicals and only spot spray as needed. Their biggest pests are aphids, which eat at the sap in the trees and dries them up, Wilson said.
“This year with the heavy rain we didn’t have to worry because the rain washes them away. We do minimal treating of them because we don’t like to work with chemicals and we don’t like chemicals on our trees,” Wilson said.
Wilson said she began working on the curriculum in July so it could be ready for the tour. She said the family is excited to have two of their trees on display in the nation’s capitol, though with their busy selling season, they have no plans to travel to Washington, D.C., to see the trees on display that will provide the Christmas tree experience to many.
“There’s definitely a sense of pride when you watch a tree grow to fruition then someone gets to celebrate it, knowing it’s in someone’s house and is part of their home during a special time of year,” Wilson said.