Thursday, December 6, 2007

Things Change, Part 35212345...

I caught this little snippet from an article in the Union-Tribune:

Fire isn't the only problem facing San Diego County's choose-and-cut tradition.

Farmers are getting older. Most members of the state's Christmas tree association are over 50, Minturn said. The latest victim of age is the 20-acre Van Winkle's Tree Farm in Jamul. For the first time since the mid-1970s, Van Winkle's won't be selling Christmas trees, said Grace Van Winkle, 79. Van Winkle said her sons are taking over the farm from her and her husband, Alfred, 81, and the younger generation decided to focus on the year-round business of nursery plants.

“Our sons didn't have time,” she said.
Every time we leave or return to our home in Lawson Valley, we pass the Van Winkle farm. Ever year until this year, there's been a cheerful little sign along Lawson Valley Road, directing Christmas tree seekers through the side roads to Van Winkle's farm, where they could choose and cut their own tree. We did that many times, starting from before we moved out here.

No more. This year there's a simple, hand-painted sign telling us that the Van Winkle farm no longer has any Christmas trees. They must have been tired of their returning customers showing up, expecting to buy their tree this year. The Van Winkles also used to run a delightful little crafts store full of Christmas decorations; I suppose that's gone as well.

I can certainly understand the reasons that the sons have decided not to continue the Christmas tree farm. If it doesn't make business sense to continue it, then of course they should not. I don't have to like it, though…

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