Farm supplying White House Christmas tree chosen

ALLEGAN, Mich. (AP) — The White House Christmas Tree will come from a farm in Lehighton, Pa., following a competition in Michigan.

A panel of growers, industry experts and consumers on Saturday selected Chris Botek of Crystal Springs Tree Farm as the National Christmas Tree and Wreath Contests 2014 grand champion, according to the Kalamazoo Gazette.

Crystal Springs was one of 12 finalists in a two-day competition at Peterson’s Riverview Nursery in Allegan in southwestern Michigan.

White House representatives, in October, will select an 18½-foot-tall tree from Botek’s farm for the Blue Room, said Rick Dungey, executive director of the National Christmas Tree Association.

The Blue Room’s chandelier has to be removed because the electrical outlet for the tree is there.

“They want the tree to touch the ceiling so that people don’t see electrical cords dangling,” Dungey said.

Judging for the contest starts with industry experts visiting tree farms around the country. Farmers are scored on growing techniques and tree quality.

“They’re looking at things like uniformity of growth, even color and how much bruising there is of branches,” Dungey said.

The finalists also represent the industry’s “cream of the crop,” he said.

“By the time you get here, you have to be really good at what you do,” Dungey said.

Judges also announced Saturday that Dan Taylor of Dan and Bryan Trees in Kearneysville, W.Va., is the contest’s reserve champion. Korsons Tree Farm in Montcalm County and Candy Cane Christmas Tree Farm in Oxford were Michigan’s entries among the 12 finalists.

Last year’s grand champion was from Belvidere, N.J.

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