Introducing: The Christmas Tree Grower
As we experience one of the warmest summers on record, Christmas is far from our minds. But for one man, the festive season is on his radar every day of the year. Meet John Fairey from Meon Valley Christmas Trees.
Why Christmas trees?
I worked in farm management for years after growing up on a farm. I dedicated a lot of time to arable and livestock farming before focusing on agronomy. In 2000, I began working for a Christmas tree grower where I stayed for six years. I now divide my time between advising clients on agronomy related issues and growing my own Nordmann Firs Christmas trees in Hampshire.
How many trees are you currently growing?
I took over the land in 2008 and planted 16,000 trees over the next year or so, there are now around 8,000 left. Growing good quality trees requires time, effort and skill. We prune and feed them, weed control was also key at the early stages of their growth. It is about growing the perfect tree, I see the beautiful trees we supply to our customers and I feel proud. The growing process, for me, is therapeutic.
Any tips for looking after our Christmas trees?
We grow Nordmann Firs as they are known for how well they keep their needles and stay looking good throughout the festive season. Whereas imported trees may have been cut down as early as October the first of ours aren’t harvested until the end of November. Then we continue to cut them as and when they are ordered to ensure customers receive only the freshest trees. We recommend placing it in water, they are still alive when cut so need regular watering although we do have customers who have ignored this advice and still had fresh looking trees into January!
Where can people buy your trees?
We sell them directly to consumers at Hampshire Farmers’ Markets throughout December. We also supply local farm shops, garden centres, pubs and other venues with our trees to sell to their customers. By buying local trees not only does the customer receive a quality product but it also avoids the negative impact on the environment of importing trees from far and wide. So we urge people to make it a Hampshire Christmas this year.
Do you look forward to huddling around your own Christmas tree come the 25th December?
In truth, by Christmas Day I have often had an overdose of all things festive and need a rest after all the physical labour involved in harvesting and selling the trees! Last year, I escaped to warmer climes for a lie down! I am not sure what this Christmas holds....
If you are interested in stocking Meon Valley Christmas Trees or would like more information please visit their website - meonvalleyxmastrees.com. There are discounts for retail and trade orders placed before the 15th October, call John on 07747784234 to order.