First Lady Michelle Obama kicked off the holiday season by welcoming the White House Christmas tree, a 19-foot Fraser fir from Ashe County that will be displayed in the Blue Room. With daughters Malia and Sasha, first dog Bo and several others, she welcomed the tree and its growers from Peak Farms in Jefferson. Farm owners Rusty and Beau Estes are this year’s grand champion winners of the National Christmas Tree Association, which has provided the White House tree each year since 1966. This will be the 12th time that North Carolina has supplied the White House tree, more than any other state since the contests started. 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.
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.
N.C. sees bumper crop of Christmas trees this year (The News & Observer – Raleigh, Nov. 28)
First lady welcomes 19-foot Fraser Fir as White House Christmas tree (The Washington Post, Nov. 23)