MERIDEN, KS. (KSNT) – Christmas tree farms are opening around Northeast Kansas, but inflation is causing the prices of trees to be more expensive. Owners of two different farms near Topeka told 27 News they’ve been impacted by high costs, but neither of them is letting it affect their tree sales.
Eldon Clawson and Marlene Ewing have been growing trees on their farm in Wakarusa for 30 years now, but things have looked different the past few seasons. County Christmas Trees has handled COVID-19, supply and demand issues and now, inflation.
“Actually I told one family the other day, I said we had to pay 13 dollars extra for freight on every tree that came in this year,” Clawson said. “I’m sure it was because of diesel prices. And she said ‘Oh, we just expect that.'”
Clawson said precut tree prices have gone “crazy” recently, but he’s not raising the prices of his homegrown trees too much. Between the farm and precut trees, they plan to sell roughly 500 trees total. However, Eldon and Marlene aren’t too worried about the costs, as the overall tree farm experience draws customers in.
“Families really do enjoy coming out here,” Ewing said. “Right after COVID, it was like the first thing they could do outside, and families came out. They come out, the little kids can pull the carts that they want, they come out to the trees, and possibly help cut down the trees.”
On top of that, Marlene buys roughly 600 pounds of greenery each year to make wreaths. Her handmade wreaths come in all different styles and sizes, adding to the farm’s experience and revenue. Another local farm is doing the same thing to make things easier on themselves and customers.
“We’ve increased the prices a little bit, but I know this year we’re trying to come up with some other options,” Chris Pool of Seven Pines said. “We used to have one wreath size, so now we have another wreath size. So hopefully people will still buy a tree and if they want to get a wreath, the budget will still be manageable for them.”
Seven Pines has been open in Meriden for three years now, but their trees are still growing. It takes seven to eight years to grow a full-sized Christmas tree, so owners Chris and Tami are only selling precut ones right now. Trying to keep trees affordable while also making a profit is hard, but the Pool’s aren’t worried. They also think there’s something special about the tree farm experience.
“You end up with people who have memories of going to the same Christmas tree farm, and that’s what they’re doing, they’re making memories,” Tami Pool said. “They’re not going to big box store and buying a tree, they’re coming out here.”
Seven Pines opens for the season this Friday. Country Christmas Trees started their season Sunday, but they’ll be open again on Saturday as well.