It is not too late to start a holiday tradition this year by cutting down your own tree at one of the many Christmas tree farms also known as plantations in the Northern San Joaquin Valley and foothills.
Tree farm owners say their trees are fresher, greener and last longer than pre-cut trees. And dont ask them about the (de)merits of artificial trees.
Its very satisfying for us, said Lorraine Nicholson, who owns Come & Cut Christmas Trees on Milnes Road just east of Modesto with her husband, Gordon. We see old friends and make new ones each Christmas. People come out here mainly because it makes great family memories.
Lorraine Nicholson made some new friends Wednesday when the Taber family came out for its first cut-your-own Christmas tree. The Tabers spent about 20 minutes surveying the trees until mom Liz Taber found the right one: a 6-foot Monterey pine with that perfect triangle shape. It took about three minutes to cut it down.
We just thought this would be a fun family outing, said Liz Taber, who came with husband Brandon and children Lydia, 10, Cooper, 6, and Addison, 4.
The tree cost $37, which Liz Taber said was a bargain. She figures a similar tree at The Home Depot which is where the Tabers got their tree last year would cost about $50.
There still are Christmas trees ready to be cut at Come & Cut, Hilmar Forest and the Twain Harte Tree Farm, among the regions tree farms.
There are some people who came here as kids and now they are bringing their kids, said Christine Dibble, who works in the Twain Harte Tree Farm gift shop. Its fun.
For more, including the tree farms locations and hours of operation, go to www.cachristmas.com/real-tree-choose-cut.html.
Bee staff writer Kevin Valine can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (209)578-2316.