Tradition keeps live Christmas tree business afloat - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Tradition keeps live Christmas tree business afloat

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CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL)--In eastern Iowa, one family farm has been growing and selling Christmas trees for more than four decades.  And despite a wet summer coupled with a down economy, sales of real trees from the farm are still going strong.

40 years ago, Jim Evanow's father planted a field of evergreens, hoping to someday have a side job selling Christmas trees.  The first crop failed, but the second was a success.  After he died, Jim and his family have carried on the dream.  And today, they are still selling trees, in what's now become the Greenbranch Tree Farm in Cedar Rapids.

"We get a little rest in January and February but then we're into mowing and planting and shaping the trees year round.  It's quite a bit of work during the season.  They just don't grow nicely by themselves," said tree farm owner, Jim Evanow.

Despite a summer with lots of wet weather and high heat, the Christmas tree crop is in pretty good shape this year.

"They grow very well even if we have a dry spell.  They still grow very nicely.  And then they wait for the rains, and when they get them, they store up the moisture," Evanow said.

And the ability to sell these trees has survived not just the weather, but tough economic times, too.  Evanow says tradition almost always trumps circumstance, and it keeps families like the Pins coming back for generations to come.

"I always grew up with my whole family coming out to cut a Christmas tree every year.  So that was always a great family tradition that my parents and brother did every year.  So we kind of always wanted, when he got old enough--we've been doing it for three years now-- we wanted to make it our own family tradition," said Heather Pins.

It's that experience that brings many people to Christmas tree farms.  And the memories made last long after the holidays have come and gone.

KWWL Reporter:  Kera Mashek

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