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December 3, 2013

~ Farmer was nine years old when he planted the tree delivered today ~
Contact: Elaine J. Lidholm, 804.786.7686

As part of its promotion of Virginia grown Christmas trees, the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) arranged for farmers from around the state to deliver fresh-cut trees, wreaths and greenery to the First Lady for use in and outside the Executive Mansion. John Houston of Sweet Providence Farm in Floyd presented a 12-foot Fraser fir tree for the main Christmas tree at the Governor’s Mansion and Richard Nuckols of Nuckols Christmas Tree Plantation in Cumberland presented Christmas wreaths. They earned the right to do so by being selected as Grand Champion Tree and Grand Champion Wreath at the annual meeting of the Virginia Christmas Tree Growers Association last August. Bill and Mary Apperson of MillFarm Christmas Trees and Berry Farm of Williamsburg brought greenery for the mansion.

John Houston said he was nine years old when they planted the tree they delivered today, making him the youngest farmer in living memory to grow a tree for Virginia’s Governor and First Lady. His brother Thomas, aged 18, said he considered himself so lucky to be able to work on the family farm because “it’s my passion.”

“A day like this makes me so proud of our Virginia farmers,” said Matt Lohr, VDACS Commissioner. “To see most of the Houston family there – Mom, Dad, John, Thomas, Mary, Catherine, Henry and Samuel (aged four-and-a-half he proudly told me) – made me realize there’s no better place to raise a family than on the farm. There may be places as good, but none better. Mary said she couldn’t come because she had so many wreath orders to fill. Her mother insisted that she come along with the family. She took the day off, but my guess is after an eight-hour round trip plus the time spent in Richmond, she’ll be back at work filling orders this evening.”                 

Consumers who don’t get door-to-door delivery of their trees, wreaths and greenery can go to, enter “Christmas trees” in the product search bar and find a farm or retail lot to find a fresh Virginia tree. They can search by county or zip code.

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