2012 PRESS RELEASES
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September 14, 2012
VIRGINIA GRAND CHAMPION CHRISTMAS TREE AND WREATH EARN GROWERS THE PRIVILEGE TO PRESENT A TREE AND WREATHS TO THE GOVERNOR AND FIRST LADY
Contact: Elaine J. Lidholm, 804.786.7686
An eight foot tall Fraser fir tree grown by Rodney Richardson of Mt. Rogers Christmas Tree Farm in Whitetop, Virginia, was chosen Grand Champion by the Virginia Christmas Tree Growers Association (VCTGA) at their August convention. The panel of judges selected the winning tree on the basis of several criteria including foliage, density, uniformity, taper and marketability.
As winner of the Grand Champion title, Richardson is entitled to provide a tree for the Governor’s Mansion this year and also to enter a tree in the next National Christmas Tree Contest in August 2013. A win there will give him the opportunity to present the White House tree to the President and First Lady next Christmas.
Richardson is no stranger to this title of Grand Champion. He and his late wife Cynthia previously presented the tree for the Governor’s Mansion in 2009, as well as the official state Christmas tree that graced the South Portico of the State Capitol that year.
VCTGA’s Grand Champion winner in the wreath category is Sherrie and Carlos Taylor of Severt’s Tree Farm in Elk Creek, Virginia. They will present wreaths to the First Lady in November to grace the front doors of the Executive Mansion. The Taylors used Fraser fir for their winning design and also took the second place award in the tree contest.
The presentation for the Grand Champion Christmas Tree and the Grand Champion Wreath took place at the VCTGA’s annual meeting in Waynesboro August 23 through 25. At that meeting, they also presented their President’s Award to Matthew J. Lohr, Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Lohr, who cuts the tree for his family at a farm in the Shenandoah Valley each year, says that Christmas trees are a great renewable resource. “For every tree growers cut,” Lohr said, “they plant three new ones. Real trees are recyclable and they can provide habitat for fish in lakes or ponds. In the field, they release oxygen into the air and provide that wonderful aroma that only comes from live trees.”
Consumers who want to find fresh, local, Virginia Grown Christmas trees in their area should log onto virginiachristmastrees.org or explore the Virginia Grown Guide to Choose-and-Cut, Fresh-Cut and Live Christmas Trees at VirginiaGrown.com. Click on Christmas Trees under “Where to Find Virginia Grown.”