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Easton Stands Tall Among Tree Growers

Paul Gruber always waits until the last minute to buy his Christmas tree in Easton. "This is what's great about this town," Gruber said as he finished his transaction at Silverman's Farm on Wednesday. "I can wait until everything's picked through, and there's still great trees."

According to the United States Department of Agriculture , the town's eight farms account for 30 percent of the county's total and sell thousands of trees each year to people from all over Fairfield County and beyond. The county as a whole sold more than 16,000 trees in 2007, earning more than $1 million in taxable revenue.

And more people are trying to cash in on the bark and needle trade. This year, two more families sought permission from the Planning and Zoning Commission to sell trees as a side business in Easton.

Among the established growers in town, Maple Row Farms has close to 50 varieties available on 200 acres of searchable farmland. Silverman's had only 15 trees left after having more than 1,000 for sale at the start of the season.

Recycling Christmas trees after the holiday is also becoming a concern. Emmanuel Church in Weston offers a popular local option. The church holds a Christmas tree bonfire each year, with complementary hot dogs and cider served to guests. Residents pay $30 to have a tree picked up or $20 if they bring their own. The tree burning raised $3,000 last year, which the church gave to Weston's Warm-Up Fund. This year's event is on Jan. 8.

The history of the Christmas tree is marked with numerous claims, including Connecticut’s contention that it was the first state to erect a living tree for Christmas celebrations.

Easton's long history in the Christmas tree trade reached a high point in 2009, when Rockefeller Center displayed a 76-foot tall Norway Spruce, compliments of resident Maria Corti.

What do you do with your Christmas tree when it's time to say goodbye? Municipal dump? Fire wood? Hand-made toothpicks? Let us know in the comment box below!

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