Texas isn't really known for its vast evergreen forests. You could count the piney woods in East Texas, but no one's cutting those trees down for Christmas. But there is an alternative: For a short time over the holidays, tree farmers across the state open up their properties so Texans can choose and cut their own trees and get the feeling of an alpine experience.
Francis Frederick is president of the Texas Christmas Tree Growers Association. His farm is in north Dallas, and he says he's already sold all of his trees for the season.
"The demand for the live tree has gone up over the last eight or nine years since the recession," Frederick says.
Frederick says he and the approximately 100 other association members aim to give families the "traditional" Christmas experience of choosing their own tree.
"Most of them are choose-and-cut farms, and they want people to come out for the traditions, experience and memory of cutting a tree with the family," Frederick says.
Some farms also have Easter egg hunts and pumpkin patches to keep their businesses afloat during the off-season. But the off-season isn't much of a break; tree farms begin growing trees in January to prepare for the following December.
The trees in the Texas Capitol and the governor's mansion come from association farms.
Frederick says all of the trees are raised and harvested in a sustainable way.
"We are always replanting right back when we cut down a tree," Frederick says. "The way we do it is good for the environment because a lot of the places take the tree and recycle them back into mulch."
Written by Libby Cohen. This piece was originally published on the Texas Standard.