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Trim the tree, locally

Kings Drive Farmers Market
Kings Drive Farmers Market
Adele Yonchak

With Christmas only two weeks away, Charlotteans are decking the halls and trimming their trees. And with the North Carolina Christmas tree industry ranking second in the nation in number of trees harvested, chances are they are all buying local. In a struggling economy and a world of outsourcing, it's nice to know you can support our state by simply participating in one of the oldest Christmas traditions of tree decorating.

As you drive through Charlotte, mini tree markets are on every corner but one of the largest Christmas tree hot spots is the Kings Drive Farmers Market where the Darrell Simpson Family has sold trees for 68 years.

Walking through the Kings Drive selection you can find trees ranging from 2 feet to 15+ feet and everything in between. Families weave in and out of the trees looking for the perfect fit. Each tree, like each family, has their own personality and for some it's the perfect Christmas tree that truly begins the Christmas season.

That's exactly what the Darrell Simpson family, along with the other Charlotte tree vendors, is counting on. And luckily, through the current dire economic situation, families may be trimming their budgets, but they are still trimming their trees.

According to the North Carolina Department of Agriculture, the 2009 Christmas tree harvest should include more than 5 million trees from more than 1,500 growers state-wide. And with North Carolina farmers growing about a quarter of the nation's Christmas trees, many families across the country will be piling their gifts, even if the pile is smaller than previous years, under a North Carolina Fraser Fir.

So whether you are making a trip up to the Western North Carolina mountains to cut your own tree or if you are counting on the Darrell Simpson family to take care of the selection, rest assured you are buying local.