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Tree farms celebrate the season Christmas spirit

"POULSBO - Families came to Little Norway from near and far to check out local attractions that are growing more popular every year - tree lots. With great selections and the option to purchase pre- or uncut Christmas trees, Poulsbo's tree sellers are seeing business boom as the most-anticipated winter holiday nears. Across the city from State Highway 305 to Sawdust Hill, lots were packed this weekend with much more than customers and trees. Holiday cheer emanated from the throngs of visitors at Jones Tree Farms last weekend during its annual kids' days. In addition to hundreds of fine trees, the folks at Jones offered visits with Santa Claus, horse drawn wagon and tractor trailer rides as well as crafts and wreath making events. Five-year-old Cassidy Balkus was really getting the hang of creating her own holiday wreath but got some assistance from Dawn Nelson of Jones nonetheless. We've been busy, Nelson said with a weary smile. The farm on Sawdust Hill was practically overrun with kids and tree shoppers Saturday. Noble and Douglas firs were the big sellers so far, she explained, adding that the lot would be seeing even larger crowds over the next two weekends. Despite this, Nelson agreed that Saturday's showing was quite impressive. This weekend is a whole lot busier than last weekend. I think it's the weather, she said, indicating the sunny skies. Sam Rader of Valley Nursery also said his Noble Fir sales were doing well this season. We always sell a lot of Nobles, Rader added, noting that the nursery was also selling a good deal of uncut Nordman Firs, which are similar to Nobles. It's picking up, he said of business. But we've still got a good selection of trees. A large selection is something Josh Olmstead said his family has been offering locals for years. Noble Firs have been hard for a lot of people to get, explained Olmstead, whose family has run a tree lot on Highway 305 since 1968. Much of the Noble Fir crop had been lost this year due to drought and disease in other parts of the country. Although such shortages are affecting other lots, Olmstead was quick to note that such was not the case at his family's long-standing business. The reason? We grow our own trees, he explained. It's been a family business for years. I've been out here doing it since I was that big, Olmstead added, pointing across the lot to a small boy. Like other lots in the area he concurred that the weekends of Dec. 9-10 and 16-17 would be the busiest of the year. "

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