(Last year Big Island Pulse provided you with information on locally grown trees and alternatives. This article serves as an update for 2021.)
The smell of a freshly cut Christmas tree brings up fond memories for most people. To me, it reminds me of one of the hardest jobs I ever had. One of my first paid jobs was to prune trees at our local Christmas tree farm in Eastern Oregon. It was hot. Like oven-on-300-degrees hot. And you had to wear long pants and long sleeves to protect you from the tree needles. Pruning and shaping was done during the summer months, so the trees had time to rebound and cover up the trim spots with new growth. It was hard work, and I will admit that I did not last longer than a couple of weeks. But it did give me an appreciation for all the work that goes into growing those gloriously shaped tenenbaums we all seek this time of year.
The Big Island is home to two Christmas tree farms, providing quality (and scent-sational smell!) trees grown right here- no container or shipping required. Not to diminish the service those chain stores provide, but it is wonderful that we have local options as well. As we reported last year, the two places on-Island where you can select and cut (or have cut) your own fresh tree are the following:
In Ninole, the Hamakua Christmas Tree Farm grows two types of cypress trees- the Portuguese Cypress and the Arizona Cypress. Rich and Nancy Bradwell started the tree farm in 2015. The farm gives you the opportunity to select your tree to be cut and taken home when it works best for you. Selection began on November 1, but there are still trees available. Trees range between five and ten feet tall with prices between $50-$100. The farm is open seven days a week from 11:00am-5:00pm. You can also purchase your tree online through their website (but you do have to go pick it up): https://hamakuachristmastreeforest.com/.
South of Hilo, the Hooluana Tree Farm also sells cypress trees at their Mountain View farm. For 2021, they are sold out, but if you are planning for next year, keep them in mind. Started by Veteran Tom Beck and his Native Hawaiian wife Luana three years ago, they have sold out each year. They also offer the experience of choosing your own tree and returning when you are ready to take it home. Their pre-pay selection season usually opens for two short days the weekend before Thanksgiving, with general sales opening the day after Thanksgiving until sold out. Their hours are 9:00am-4:00pm. Their trees run about $12 per foot. Like Hamakua, you can cut your tree, or they will cut it for you. For more information on the Hooluana Tree Farm (and Ranch), visit: https://www.hooluanatreefarm.com/.
If you would prefer a living tree that you can plant after the holidays are over, you have a number of choices available. Several nurseries offer smaller trees, such as Norfolk or Cook pines, in pots. The benefit here is a tree that you can decorate inside this year, plant after the season, and decorate outside for years to come. Some of the locations these live trees are offered are: Rozett’s Nursery on Paradise in Hawaiian Paradise Park; Gnome’s Grove, which sells through the East Hawaii Farm-to-Car program; and Paradise Plants in Hilo.
Whichever type of tree you choose, whether local or imported, may it bring your family joy during the holiday season. And if you ever want a decent work out during the summer, ask the tree farmers if they need help pruning their crop.