Medford, Ore.– Supply is down and prices are up for a holiday staple. Christmas tree farms in the Valley are selling out fast.
Larry Ryverson is spending some much welcomed down time after-hours on his U-Cut Christmas tree farm in Medford.
“Years ago I was out here hoping that somebody would come up and buy a tree,” he says.
These days his 10 acres of land are swarming with customers.
“Now its almost overwhelming!”
With about 12 varieties of Christmas trees, this U-Cut farm, around since the 70’s, has become a holiday tradition for families near and far, but it wasn’t always rooted in growing the holiday staple.
“My grandfather bought the 40 acres here in the 40’s,” Larry explains.
Once used as a weekend getaway for his grandfather, it now sprouts Larry’s livelihood.
“The hobby turned into a job.”
Over the years, this self taught farmer, “Well I took FFA in school, but I don’t know if that really did anything,” says he’s seen the ups and downs of the not always merry business.
“It’s a lot of work and people don’t realize that,” Larry says.
A boom in the Christmas tree business a few years ago had a lot of what Larry calls “bandwagoners” starting their own farms, but with the drought and weather a lot of farms called it quits.
“I am about the only big one left.”
That means a lack of trees, which in turn drives up prices. Larry says he still works hard to keep the dollar amount fair which is a tough balance with his biggest budget drainer, irrigation.
“Work all year round just to be open 6 days a year now,” he says.
For Larry this is more than a business. He says those 11 months of hard work are worth it to follow his passion and help bring a little jolly holiday cheer to the valley.
“This time of the year is the greatest time,” says Larry.