Local tree farm making progress
For about 40 years, people in the New Hampton area were able to chop down their own Christmas trees at Pine Acres Tree Farm, just east of town.
All that changed after 2010, thanks to snow, ice, and a hungry herd of deer.
“We’d always had deer damage, it’s part of the business, but that was way beyond what is normal,” said Jan Pacovsky, proprietor of Pine Acres and also executive director of the Iowa Christmas Growers Association. “The deer herd moved in and stripped the farm completely of needles.”
The deer destroyed the entire eight-acre farm just after Pine Acres had closed for the 2010 Christmas season. More than 10,000 trees were lost. Unfortunately, no kind of crop insurance was available to help cover the loss.
“They stripped it in three days,” Pacovsky said. “It was a severe winter, and they were looking for food. We stopped counting at 200 deer beds, and they were not going anywhere. They were entrenched.”
Pine Acres has not yet reopened for business since the devastating loss, but Pacovsky said that she hopes to, although she isn’t putting a date on when.
“Quite a few people have been calling and wondering if we’re back in business. I tell them, ’not quite,’” she said. “We’ve replanted, but we’re not catching up yet. I am hoping to get back into it. My son and grandchildren are wanting us to get back into it.”
Despite the lack of a tree farm, Pacovsky is still the resident expert on — and advocate for — real Christmas trees.
About 81 percent of people who get a Christmas tree get an artificial one, according to the American Christmas Tree Association, the group Pacovsky is executive director for. The other 19 percent head to tree farms, nurseries or stores to pick out a “real” tree for Christmas.
For more of this article, see Friday's Tribune.