Digital Heritage Moment
After the Second World War, mountain farmers, looking for crops to revive a declining farm economy, began to market trees from natural stands in nearby towns. Mountain terrain was no handicap for hardy evergreen trees. By the 1950s, managed stands of Fraser fir and balsam firs had become America’s most popular trees at Christmas.
Currently about seven million Christmas trees are harvested from Appalachian farms, from New York to Mississippi. Western North Carolina, with the highest elevations in the Appalachian chain, produces more than five million of this total. Although most Americans think of Christmas trees for only a few weeks each year, many mountain farmers are involved year round in the management of a valuable crop that provides a stable income from their land.
Digital Heritage Moments are produced at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee. To learn more, visit DigitalHeritage.org. You may also hear Digital Heritage Moments each weekday on radio stations WKSF-FM, WWCU-FM, WMXF-AM, WPEK-AM and WWNC-AM.