Over one hundred million natural Christmas trees are grown, harvested and sold around the world every year; and all of those miniature fir, pine and spruce trees have to come from somewhere. Major producers and consumers of Christmas trees include France, Denmark, Canada, Belgium and the British Isles. In Europe, nearly 40 percent of the continent’s fifty million trees come from Germany. The United States produces over thirty-five million Christmas trees per year, and over seven million of those come from the state of Oregon. Alone, Oregon grows and sells more Christmas trees than any other state or country with the exception of Germany and France.
Oregon, at the heart of the Pacific Northwest, is one of the most heavily forested states in America. Lumber and logging is one of its chief industries. It is therefore natural that Oregon produces some of the largest crops of top-quality Christmas trees anywhere. In particular, Clackamas County, just southeast of Portland, is famous for its Christmas tree farms. Home to Mount Hood National Forest, Clackamas County residents have turned the farming and exporting of Christmas trees into an art form, with nearly three million trees produced in this county alone every year.
At the heart of Clackamas County’s Christmas tree harvest is the small town of Estacada. Because of its central importance to Clackamas County, and therefore to Oregon’s Christmas tree industry, Estacada considers itself to be the Christmas Tree Capital of the World, a claim with reasonable merit. Hundreds of thousands of visitors from all over the northwest descend on this tiny town every December to pick and cut down their own perfect Christmas tree. Interestingly, the town has not yet established an annual Christmas Tree festival. It would not be a surprise if one was started in the next few years.
Although Estacada’s tree farms are most active in November and December, some can be visited year-round. Among the town’s major farms, in alphabetical order, are Bill’s Tree Farm, Buckner Farms, Frosty Forest Farm, Magill Farms, Mills Farm, Park Forest Products and Randall Farm. Web: www.estacadachamber.net (Estacada Chamber of Commerce)