Triad Christmas tree farmers preparing for more families to shop local

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BELEWS CREEK, N.C. -- Triad Christmas tree farmers are preparing for more families who may want to shop local instead of heading for the mountains.

Wildfires and smoke have left some people questioning the annual trip to the mountains. Some mountain farmers are bringing trees to the Triad at a number of locations including the Piedmont Triad Farmers Market. Because of the climate, Triad tree farmers typically can only grow White Pine or Norway Spruce.

"There are a lot of people that want to come out, cut a tree, and this is real convenient here in the Triad," said Ken VanHoy, of Rail Fence Farm, the only Christmas tree farm in Forsyth County. They don't know if the wildfires will increase their customers but are ready. "Lot of our customers have come to love the White Pine, a soft tree that's needle retention is just outstanding."

VanHoy runs the 50-year-old family tree farm with his brother Al.

"The day after Thanksgiving we first start selling and that first weekend in December, if it's good weather out here, we'll be slammed," said Al VanHoy. "Several families that live in Gastonia come up every year. We have families especially from Clemmons, Lewisville visit us."

The VanHoys say no matter where you buy your tree this year, the dry conditions will require you to water the tree immediately after getting home and possibly multiple times daily.