Christmas trees for the discerning buyer

Photos by Rusty Strait / The Valley Chronicle
Ready and open for business! Workers with Valley View Trees offer some of the best Christmas trees in the entire region.

■ By Rusty Strait / Senior Reporter
For several years a Christmas tree lot has popped up at the northwest corner of Florida and Palm avenues. The parking lot in back is always filled with cars and trucks waiting to load the tree of their choice. I decided to stop by and find out just what’s going on that makes this place so popular.
I spoke to Fran Blair. Ms. Blair and her husband, Jeff, are in their first year of operating the facility, which is owned by Valley View Trees, who took over last year from a previous owner.
Mrs. Blair said, “This site is rented from our next door neighbors, Brubaker-Culton realtors. Valley View Trees operates 20 sites in Southern California and Arizona. Of the 20, Hemet is number one in sales.
“We have people coming in to buy trees that tell me they’ve come here for two decades to purchase their trees, and most of them are quite specific as to what they want.” What sorts of trees are available?
“Noble, Douglas Fir, Fraser Fir, Nordmann pines and Grand-green [fir] trees. Prices range from Douglas Firs at $30 and up. The larger Nordmann pines go up to $325. They cost more because it takes longer to grow them. They are carefully cultivated from planting to harvest. They must be trimmed and shaped as they grow, pampered and pruned to perfection. The cost of all this, plus shipping them off the mountains of Oregon, is a year round process. We’ve had three full shipments this past week. I’d say that people have purchased more than 500 trees this year.”
What are their hours and how late will they be selling trees this year?
“We will be open every day from 9 to 9 except on Christmas eve when we close up shop for the year at 4:30 in the afternoon.”
I’m sure that most of you must be as surprised as I am at the high end costs. Some people deal with pampered kids, but pampered trees? Just sayin’.

Photo by Rusty Strait / The Valley Chronicle
The large distinctive tent is a frequent site in Hemet at Christmas time, but the tree lot is operated this year by a new company.

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