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Finding the perfect Christmas tree is easy when it helps the environment


A good-natured argument – whether to pick a real or artificial tree – has only one choice when it comes down to the benefit of nature

SOUTH FREETOWN, P.E.I. -  Drummond’s Christmas Tree Farm took on a mystical beauty on Sunday morning with its rows upon rows of pruned and protected balsam fir trees that were blanketed in a powdery-soft snow near the gushing Dunk River in South Freetown.

“I started this farm in 1984 after moving from the Northwest Territories,” said Robin Drummond, as he motioned to his 12-acre coniferous forest.

The non-arable (not capable of being plowed or used to grow crops) land could not be farmed for potatoes, but an idea was planted from a relative that a Christmas tree operation would be a suitable fit. Fast-forward 34 years and the family-owned and operated farm has branched into a successful joint beef cattle and tree venture.

“We purchase our seedlings from the J. Frank Gaudet Tree Nursery in Charlottetown, plant, grow, rotate, and replace each tree once it’s been cut. Balsam fir is known throughout North America for its longevity once cut. Their needles are lush too, and they have a nice fragrance,” said Drummond.

“Part of Christmas is that you are touching nature,” - Robin Drummond

Planted much like an agricultural crop, the trees that are harvested and replaced provide a habitat for wildlife.

“Real Christmas trees help the environment because there are birds in there, rabbits run around, it’s like a small wood. Every tree absorbs carbon dioxide and other gasses too while emitting fresh oxygen, so it’s nature’s filtration system,” he remarked.

And when it comes down to the annual debate on which one is better – a real or artificial tree – Drummond was quick to answer.

“The vast majority of artificial trees are made in China and we know the labour situation there. Plus, the chemicals used are very toxic to make a plastic tree. Lead and cadmium can be found in the plastic leaves to make them pliable, and after 5 or 10 years they are discarded and thrown into landfills.”

Artificial trees cannot be recycled and their non-biodegradable materials take a long period to break down, but purchasing a real tree contributes to the cycle of life.

“Natural trees decompose and we are in partnership with Bedeque Bay Environmental Management (BBEMA), so all our extra trees are used to protect sand dunes and river banks while going back into nature. When our customers get rid of their trees, they go to Waste Watch and are recycled back into the environment.”

Drummond admits Christmas for him is about being grounded with family and accepting nature into his home.

“Part of Christmas is that you are touching nature,” he said, as a smile lit up his eyes.

Trees can be pre-cut, catering to individual tastes or u-cut, where families can go on a quest in the woods and saw down their own tree.

“We supply the saws and walk through the acres of wood and we can help you get it on your vehicle. It’s a whole experience and tradition for many,” said Drummond.

“Since 2011 I have been helping to sell the trees and living close to the farm, and it’s a real privilege to see families return every year for a new tree and see children growing up and they all take pictures around their tree,” added Megan Drummond, the daughter-in-law.

“Growing up I actually use to come here to get my own tree, so there are special memories attached to this farm and I think it’s wonderful,” she warmly smiled.

Christmas trees on the farm will be ready on Saturday, Dec 1. For more information visit, www.facebook.com/DrummondChristmasTreeFarm.

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