A Fraser fir from Peak Farms, near Jefferson in Ashe County, has won the honors to be decorated for display in the Blue Room at the White House during the Christmas season.
To enter National Christmas Tree Association’s national contest, growers must first win their state/regional competitions in the previous 12 months. In August, growers across the nation picked out their best trees, cut them down and brought them to the National Christmas Tree Association’s 2012 National Christmas Tree Contest in Missouri. The winner earns the right to host a visit from the White House, with a team picking a tree from the farm. This will be the 12th time that North Carolina has supplied the White House tree, more than any other state since the contests started in 1966. This also marks the second time that Rusty Estes has supplied the White House tree. He and partner Jessie Davis and their River Ridge Tree Farms in Creston supplied the White House tree for President Bush in 2008.
Rusty Estes said the publicity of having the White House tree is good for North Carolina, and particularly this part of the mountains. “Just in Ashe County, we’ve had seven national winners and our state has had 12,” he said. “If you were looking at statistics and you were a person looking to buy a Christmas tree in the United States, you’d say ‘We better go to Ashe County.’ “
According to the N.C. Christmas Tree Association, North Carolina has 1,600 growers producing an estimated 50 million Fraser fir Christmas trees growing on over 25,000 acres. Fraser Fir trees represent over 90 percent of all species grown in North Carolina. North Carolina is ranked second in the nation in number of trees harvested. Trees from North Carolina are shipped across the country and internally for the holidays.