As the Christmas holiday swiftly approaches, families will begin their hunt for festive ways to deck the halls. Spruce up your homes this year with a North Carolina choose-and-cut Christmas tree.

“Selecting a fresh Christmas tree is a tradition shared by many families across the state that gives holiday decorating a personal touch,” Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler said. “Of course, choosing a fresh, North Carolina Christmas tree also supports the state’s farmers and your local economy.”

With more than 300 choose-and-cut Christmas tree farms across the state, finding a farm near your home for your tree-hunting adventure will be easy. Locations can be found via the North Carolina Choose-and-Cut directory online at www.ncfarmfresh.com. A free copy of the directory can also be obtained by contacting either the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ Northeast Marketing Center at (252) 331-4773 or Western North Carolina Farmers Market at (828) 253-1691.

To celebrate North Carolina’s Christmas tree industry, Gov. Mike Easley proclaimed the week of Nov. 28 through Dec. 5 as “Choose-and-Cut Christmas Tree Week.”

North Carolina ranks second nationally in Christmas tree production and first in Fraser fir production. Statewide, there are more than 1,500 Christmas tree growers selling more than 4.5 million trees per year, valued at more than $100 million dollars.

Choose-and-cut farms account for more than 200,000 of the total trees sold annually in the state. “These tree farms aid in creating a holiday tradition that plants new memories each year,” said Bill Glenn, NCDA&CS marketing specialist.

“Even the White House recognizes the beauty and quality of North Carolina Christmas trees. This year an 18-foot-tall North Carolina Fraser fir was selected to decorate the Blue Room.”