Now that the holiday season is upon us, New Jersey Christmas tree farmers are in high gear. State Department of Agriculture Public Information Officer Lynn Richmond said New Jersey ranks seventh in the number of Christmas tree farms in the country.

"In all, there are 809 Christmas tree farms with more than 4,600 acres of trees and about 69,000 trees are cut in New Jersey each year," according to Richmond.

She said choose-and-cut Christmas tree farms are a part of New Jersey's $18 million dollar a year agri-tourism industry and has become a very important holiday tradition and memory maker for many families.

"There are plenty of activities if you go to a Christmas tree farm. Some sell live wreaths. Some have gift shops. Some provide refreshments for purchase."

However, another thing New Jersey's Christmas tree farmers are becoming known for are their charitable efforts. For example, hundreds of trees are being donated to military families to bring them cheer this year as part of the Trees For Troops program.

"The trees are being collected by three different Christmas tree growers in the state and those trees are going to be shipped to two different military bases, one in North Carolina and one in Florida," explained Richmond.

According to the department's press release, The New Jersey Christmas Tree Growers Association donated 650 trees and $1,200 dollars to the Trees for Troops program last year.

New Jersey tree farmers are also collecting funds for Farmers Against Hunger, an organization that delivers Jersey Fresh produce to local food banks.

On Monday December 1st, New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher cut a Christmas tree at Perfect Christmas Tree Farm in Lopatcong Township. The farm was named Grand Champion in the 2014 New Jersey Christmas Tree Growers Association tree contest for their 7 1/2 foot Frasier Fir.

Governor Christie also proclaimed December 1, 2014 as Jersey Grown Christmas Tree Day.

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