Christmas Trees on the Auction Block in Union County

BUFFALO TOWNSHIP  -- The annual Christmas tree auction in Union County is in full swing with people trying to get the best deals and the best trees. The auction is held at the Buffalo Valley Produce Auction near Mifflinburg.

Trees are spread out over 20 acres. There are more than 50,000 of them this year in the most popular varieties.

Trees are sold in bundles at wholesale prices and they are sold to the highest bidders.

Many Christmas tree stands you see each year get their trees from this auction. In fact, people from all over the east coast are here shopping for the best trees.

"We can't find them up in Connecticut so we've got to get them someplace," said Dominick Calabrese from Millbury, Connecticut.

He's come every year for over a decade and is looking for all kinds of trees. There are Frasier Fir, Douglass Fir, Blue Spruce and a lot more.

One of the most popular Christmas trees out here is the Frasier Fir, but buyers tell Newswatch 16 supplies are very low so prices are high.

Stan Kohl owns Kohl's Stony Hill Tree farm near Washingtonville.

"The prices are up, definitely up this year," Kohl said. "We don't have Frasier Fir on our farm. They just don't do really well. About 10 years or so we quit planting Frasier Fir and we come out here and buy them."

"The Carolinas have a beautiful Frasier Fir which we have a tough time matching up here," said John Boyer of Stonington.

Many Carolina farms over-planted Frasier Firs a decade ago and the demand for them was not there because of the bad economy.

"And then when they went to replant them, they got hit by a drought, too. So it was just the perfect storm. They don't expect the Frasier market to recover until 2025," said Brian Przybyl of Buffalo, New York.

Because of the lack of Frasier Firs, some lesser-known trees are getting more popular, like the Turkish Fir and the Nordmann Fir.

"Just as good, if not better than the Frasiers," Przybyl added.

Even so, many people want Frasier Fir Christmas trees, SO buyers got them, even though they were a lot more expensive at this year's auction.

"$23, $25 wholesale and now they are going for close to $40," Przybyl said.

Some buyers are nervous people will turn to artificial Christmas trees.

Unfortunately higher prices at auction translate to higher prices for us.

"If you're paying more for them, you're going to have to make your money up somehow," Boyer said.