Dry season leads to shortages with regular supplier
By Adam Pack
For the first time in the history of the fundraiser, the Lewisburg Lions Club will not be selling Christmas trees to the public this year. Every holiday season, the Lions Club has sourced and sold some of the highest quality trees in the area, and has seen massive fundraising success with their tree sales.
However, the Lion’s Club is not the only organization to benefit from the tree sale funds. The Club donates to local charities that distribute the monies to numerous philanthropic outfits around the community. The Lions also use those funds internally to help provide seeing-eye dogs to the blind, among other club charities and expenses.
Lions Member and head of the Tree Sale Fundraiser Chuck Lewis said that the lack of trees this year is affecting more groups than most people realize.
“It’s a really big loss not just for us, but for charitable efforts and volunteerism around the community,” said Lewis, as he explained the tree’s supply issues. “Christmas trees are planted and given seven to eight years to mature before they’re harvested. So, the trees for this year were planted around 2013. Well, in the last aging cycle, there were several dry years that saw many trees not make it and had to be culled.”
This comes with the compounding problem of business decisions made outside the control of the Lions Club. “Our source has other business ventures and recent droughts had made the Christmas tree operations too difficult.”
While this year may be a bust, next year’s Christmas Tree Sale is more than prepared for, as a tree provider has already been selected. Making things even easier, Lewis wanted to extend a great deal of gratitude to Greenbrier Chevrolet, as they have agreed to hold the spot for the Lions Club sale again next year.
Those wishing to donate to the Club to offset the lack of the fundraiser this year can mail a donation to the Lewisburg Lions Club, P.O. Box 1215, Lewisburg, WV, 24901.
For those wondering what to do about a high quality natural tree for Christmas, Lewis gives a helpful hint. “As of now, the best I know of would be a place called Crickmer Farm. I’ve spoken to them, they are a choose-and-cut farm (one where customers select the trees on site to be cut and packaged then). It’s a ways out, but they’re good people up there.”
Another live tree option is a cut-your-own, trim-your-own tree from Crestwood Farm in Crawley. Henry Bevins, who manages the Crestwood tree sales, said that they have a variety of trees this year for those looking to harvest their own, including Blue Spruce, Norway, and Fraser Fir.
To purchase a tree, simply call Bevins at 304-228-6663 to set up a meeting time between 10 a.m. and dusk. Four wheel drive vehicles are recommended. He accepts cash or checks, with average-sized trees ranging from $30 to $50. Larger trees are more expensive. Customers must cut their own trees, which haven’t been trimmed in some time, so they will also need a little shaping.
To get to Crestwood Tree Farm, take I-64 to the Sam Black exit and drive one mile towards Rupert on US-60. There are four brick houses, and Bevins’ is the fourth brick house on the left side of the road, with a barn adjacent to the house.
Other options include pre-cut trees from Lowe’s, Wal-Mart, and Kroger. One can also make the drive to Covington Jackson River Garden Center, who carries Christmas trees fresh and ready for sale.