Annual Christmas Tree Auction Smaller Than Normal

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BUFFALO TOWNSHIP — The familiar voice of the auctioneer combined with the sweet smell of pine can only mean one thing for folks at the Mifflinburg Produce Auction. It’s time for the annual Christmas Tree Auction.

“We’re selling some trees and having a good day waiting for Santa Claus,” Joe Ahearn said.

Organizers call this the biggest Christmas tree auction in the world. But this year it wasn’t as big as usual.

There are a lot less trees than there were last year. Last year’s news release said there were more than 80,000 Christmas trees here and this year that number has dropped to more than 45,000.

“The supply is a little low and the demand is the same so the prices are going up,” Paul Morin said.

“Oh, absolutely, prices are high,” Terry Larson said.

“They’re off the charts. The prices are horrible. Trees are going to be very expensive this year. As you can see, the prices are almost double of what we paid last year,” Michael McDonald said.

McDonald of Inwood, West Virginia has come to the auction for almost 40 years. This is the highest he’s seen the prices and says the high prices will be passed down to all of us who buy the trees.

“It’s all passed down. It costs us more for fuel, more for trees, labor. We’ve got to pay more so we’ve got to make it back somehow, but we’ve got to have trees so we’ve got to do it,” McDonald said.

Organizers say the biggest seller is the Frazier fir, which requires a lot of water to grow. Farmers say it was a bad season for Fraziers.

“We lost half of our Fraziers that we planted,” Larson said.

“That has shorted the market because those trees are unsellable. That has caused a shortage here at the auction,” Ahearn said.

“Would’ve sold last year for $15 is now selling for $25,” Morin said.

The farmers tell Newswatch 16 it takes a Christmas tree eight years to grow so they don’t see the problem being fixed right away. Even so, they are making the best out of it and still buying the trees, because Christmas is coming no matter what.