ROMANCE, Ark.- It might be a little early to start thinking about Christmas but local tree farmers have been thinking about it all year as Mother Nature turned into the Grinch.
The owner of the Romance Christmas Tree Farms, Michelle Walker, said there was a big financial toll after they lost hundreds of trees; however, they’re not letting the losses get in the way of the ultimate goal.
She said this year their biggest struggle was the weather like the ice storm and drought that happened through various months of the year.
“The negative temps got the trees down and then having the really high temps with no rain did a bunch of them in,” Walker explained. “We lost around 600 trees.”
Walker said although the loss was horrible it didn’t leave them in a bind.
“This year it will be a big loss because it was our trees that we were going to sell this year but we still have plenty for people to come out and look at,” she said. “We just don’t have the extra that we usually have.”
Walker said her family knows how to handle a challenge.
“Every tree that we lost we replanted,” she said.
Since they’ve served in their community for years, Walker said their business has grown, leaving them with around a thousand trees still in the ground.
Walker said despite the loss they know they will have a huge turnout because every year they have a high demand and that’s one of the reasons why they’re planning ahead.
“After this season every tree that we sell we will replace but what we did is instead of ordering our normal 800 trees we doubled it,” Walker said.
She said it usually takes anywhere from three to four years for the growth process for some of their trees.
“With perfect conditions, you should get anywhere between a foot and a foot and a half for a Christmas tree,” she said. “At 6 feet that is when we start selling them.”
Walker said they will always continue to care for the customers who have become like family to them, wanting to help them have a joyous Christmas every year.
“We are geared around family,” Walker said.
Romance Christmas Tree Farms is open every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. during the months of November and December.