Tree season begins

Now that Thanksgiving dinner is out of the way, the busy season has started for North Carolina's multimillion dollar Christmas tree industry.

Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler says fresh, state-grown Christmas trees will be available at stands and farmers markets this weekend, as well as at farms in the western part of the state, where most of the trees are grown.

Joey's Christmas Trees off 321 Business in Maiden set up trees at its stand this week. Richard Williams was busy drilling holes in the bottoms of trees to stand them up.

More than 5 million Christmas trees are harvested annually from North Carolina's 1,000 or so growers, making it the second-largest producer in the country. The industry generated about $85 million for the state's economy last year.

This year, growers are also donating about 1,000 trees to military families at Marine Corps Air Station New River, Camp Lejeune, Ft. Story in Virginia and Ft. Bliss in Texas.

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