Harford farm again donates Christmas tree to state ag department

Robert and Wilma Muir, owners of Deer Creek Valley Tree Farm in Street, have once again provided a large white pine Christmas tree for display outside the Maryland Department of Agriculture headquarters in Annapolis.

Maryland Agriculture Secretary Buddy Hance and Deputy Secretary Mary Ellen Setting, joined by Maryland Department of Agriculture staff, kicked off the state's Christmas tree promotion on Nov. 29 with an official lighting ceremony for the 16-foot tall white pine.

The Muirs donated a 20-foot high white pine to MDA last Christmas season. Wilma Muir is president of the Maryland Christmas Tree Association. The Muirs have some 6,000 trees on their five-acre farm in the 3700 block of Ady Road, including white pine, Douglas fir and Caanan fir. They started their Christmas tree business in 1989.

The MDA promotion of Christmas trees continues the agency's efforts to encourage residents to "buy local."

Buying a real Maryland Christmas tree not only supports our Maryland farmers, but is also the overall best green choice for the environment and local economy, MDA noted in a news release.

While they're growing, Christmas trees absorb carbon dioxide and other gases and emit fresh oxygen, unlike artificial trees which are typically made in China and are petroleum-based. After Christmas, trees can be recycled in a variety of ways, including being chipped into mulch that returns valuable nutrients to the soil.

According to the 2007 Census of Agriculture for Maryland, there are more than 200 Christmas tree growers in the state with nearly 3,000 acres in production. To find a Christmas tree farm nearby, visit http://www.marylandsbest.net.

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