Posted on December 21, 2019
Story & Photos by Jacqueline Bennett newsandviewsjb.com
Contrary to dire predictions of Christmas Tree shortages across the United States, in Manchester, Connecticut the local fire department has plenty. The Manchester Fire Department 8th Utilities District, a volunteer department, will be selling trees until at least tomorrow ~ December 22 ~ and a good selection is still available.
Braving cold temperatures, Chief Dan Langer and Chad Hahn of the MFD, were on hand Saturday Dec. 21, manning the tree lot at 18 Main Street. Both said about a supposed tree shortage, the department had not felt the impact. However, they agreed sales this year were slower than usual, which each attributed to Thanksgiving coming late in November, plus some rainy weather last weekend. On more seasonable days, sales were swift.
“Some days we sold 150 in a day, ” noted Hahn.
Said Langer, “We received one shipment of 705 trees, 700 regular size and five 10-12 feet tall. ”
Typically, the department sells the trees as a fundraiser starting just before Thanksgiving to just before Christmas – only four days away. The ample supply of trees in Manchester, CT may have something to do with the department shipping them in from Vermont just as they did last year ~ Douglas Firs. Tree farmers in Vermont have maintained since at least 2017 that there was no shortage in the Green Mountain State.
“Not here,” one farmer is quoted as having told mychaplainvalley.com.
The Atlantic reported a looming Christmas Tree shortage two years ago citing cautionary words from the National Christmas Tree Association which pointed to the “Great Recession” ten years past, when the association said, many farmers lacked the money for large plantings. In that it commonly tales ten years to grow a Christmas Tree, the NCTA predicted a shortage was likely on tap or just around the bend. The prediction was picked up by major news outlets and reported this season.
On Saturday afternoon, Langer and Hahn echoed the sentiments of the Vermont tree farmers. Nonetheless, Hahn said one customer told him of driving up to Connecticut from the New York area to avoid prices as high as $1,100 -$1,200 for a tree.
“I had never heard of that, ” he said.
Clearly, it was worth the drive because the MFD trees are going for $40. The handful of larger ones which are already sold were priced a bit higher. The fundraiser pays for the department’s social budget which covers costs such as department donations to the Manchester High School Scholarship Fund, the annual Christmas party and Memorial Day picnic. The department’s operational budget is funded by taxpayers.
If you are still on the hunt for the perfect Christmas Tree you may be in luck. By the way, the MFD lot is a very pretty Christmas Tree Lot. Adds Hahn, an even nicer sight when the lights go on at dusk.