Local tree farm prepares for holiday season amid pandemic and drought

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PAINTED POST, N.Y. (WETM) – Located outside of Corning, Empire Evergreens is preparing for one of its busiest times of the year.

Christmas is still a couple of months away but Christmas trees are being cut, wrapped, and prepared to be shipped all over New York State. Big markets for the farm are Rochester, Albany, Syracuse, and Buffalo.

Wholesale of the trees starts November first and retail sales for the trees start the day after Thanksgiving and goes until Christmas.

18 News spoke to David Weil the owner of Empire Evergreens about how Coronavirus has affected his farm.

“It has only worsened an already very problematic labor situation finding staff and this year has been by far the hardest yet,” Weil said.

The pandemic has also caused a bigger shortage in demand for Christmas trees but Weil said he isn’t worried about his farm running out of trees.

“There will be shortages at your local tree lots. We’re okay here at the farm because I maintain a reserve for the buying public, but the Christmas tree markets are going to be in tight supply,” Weil said.

The drought could also pose a problem for his trees.

“In 20 years in growing trees, this is by far the driest growing season. I’ve had so the implications on needle retention for the trees are unknown at this point will help with a recent rain that’s helped the water, take up in the tree, but it is a concern of mine going forward for needle drop this year being heavier than normal.”

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