MARYVILLE (WATE) – The push to buy local seems to just be getting stronger. So this time of the year, we ask: do you know where your Christmas tree was grown?
One local couple has two farms to help ensure you can get a tree grown right here in Tennessee.
Vol Firs in Maryville has prided itself on offering freshly cut trees for more than a decade. Neil and Becky Rhodes don’t just run a tree stand at the Foothills Farmer’s Co-op, they actually grow all the trees they sell. They also make all the wreaths, swags and kissing balls with their fresh clippings.
“We now have third generation (business.) We have about 70 percent repeat business and we don’t take that lightly,” said Neil Rhodes.
This time of the year you can find Becky Rhodes here for nearly 11 hours a day, putting together some holiday favorites. When you walk in the small workspace on the lot the first thing we noticed was the incredible scent, something Becky says she can hardly detect anymore.
“I’m not saying I don’t smell it at all,” Becky said, “but, I just don’t notice it.”
Outside in the open air, Neil often tends to the trees freshly cut from the family’s two farms.
He showed us all the varieties on the lot. Norway spruces, white pines and Douglas firs are all grown on the couple’s Blount County farm. The Fraser firs come from their farm out of state.
Neil explained why.
“We grow those at a farm in North Carolina, near Boone,” he said.
He went on to explain Fraser firs grow better at higher elevations. Vol Firs owners say no matter where their trees come from, all their trees are cut the week before Thanksgiving to ensure freshness. He points out that when you run your hand down a branch, needles should not fall off. If that does happen, Neil says the tree was likely cut weeks or months ago.
Also when it comes to what you should do to keep your tree green this season, Neil says don’t believe all the old wives’ tales.
“There is no need to add nutrient solutions or sprite or aspirin or all those things I was told growing up. The key is just water and more water.”
Vol Firs will stay open at the Foothills Co-op on Broadway in Maryville until they run our of trees. That happened last year about a week before Christmas.