COMPILED BY JOHN JOSEPH PARKER, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR
EACH YEAR, NEW JERSEY Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher highlights the choose and cut Christmas tree season with a visit to a New Jersey Christmas tree farm. Governor Murphy will also sign a proclamation to encourage New Jersey residents to support the state’s farmers and visit choose and cut Christmas tree farms.
“The experience of going to a New Jersey choose and cut Christmas tree farm can create memories that last a lifetime and keep families returning for generations,” explains Secretary Fisher.
Almost 69,000 trees are cut in New Jersey each year. The last U.S. Census of Agriculture ranked New Jersey seventh in the nation in the number of Christmas tree growers, with hundreds of farms that grow more than 4,600 acres of Christmas trees in the state.
“When a family visits a New Jersey Christmas Tree farm it’s a wonderful way to create memories that last a lifetime and a tradition that can last through generations,” explains Secretary Fisher. “Christmas tree growers in New Jersey grow a wide variety of beautiful and healthy trees that fit into any home or business. Visiting a Christmas tree farm can be a day-long activity and it’s a great way to support the local economy.”
The New Jersey Christmas Tree Growers’ Association, organized in 1950, is a statewide organization of growers, professionals and industry leaders dedicated to the promotion and marketing of Christmas trees and related products. A listing of farms consumers can visit as well as the types of trees that best fit a need is available at njchristmastrees.org.
Exley’s Christmas Tree Farms, which is a member of the New Jersey Christmas Tree Growers Association, has two locations—one in the Sewell section of Mantua Township in Gloucester County and a Monroeville site in Salem County.
They are each between 30 acres to 35 acres. Part of the experience at the Sewell location includes an indoor working model train display, a hayride that features stops at Santa’s House and a Thomas the Train display along with other play areas near the Christmas tree growing area.
Exley’s began as a landscaping business more than 50 years ago. Its first Christmas tree was planted in 1974 and sold in 1984. Exley’s features Douglas Fir, Canaan Fir, Turkish Fir, Norway Spruce, Blue Spruce and White Pine varieties of trees.
“We have some second-generation families who are returning now and it’s really rewarding to know they want to come back and pick out a tree from one of our farms,” says Co-Owner Bob Exley, who owns the business with his sons Bill and Chris. “To see families come out and have an enjoyable experience is really important to us. We want the visits here to be wonderful memories that last a lifetime for everyone involved.”