New Seasons Market, a Pacific Northwest grocery store chain specializing in local and healthy foods, is now selling organic Christmas trees at six of its fifteen locations (Mountain Park, Cedar Hills, Happy Valley, Progress Ridge, Fisher’s Landing and Williams). The trees are Noble and Douglas firs up to six feet, priced from $35 to $45.

According to New Seasons, conventional Christmas tree growers use pesticides and herbicides, many of which are not only potentially harmful to the environment, but also remain on the trees’ branches and needles after harvest. These chemical toxins may be released in the warmth of buyers’ homes, especially near Christmas light bulbs.

The organic trees were grown by Harmony J.A.C.K. Farms Inc. in Scio, Oregon, outside of Salem. Andrew Westlund, CEO of Organically Grown Co., is the owner of the farm, which uses organic fertilizers and pest control. 18 of the farm’s 310 acres are dedicated to Christmas trees.

Oregon is the top Christmas tree producer in the U.S.

“While other tree farms might be using natural or sustainable practices, Harmony J.A.C.K. is the only farm in the state to take the extra step of getting USDA and Oregon Tilth certified,” said Katie McConahay, floral merchandiser for New Seasons Market.

McConahay considered carrying Christmas trees before, but had trouble finding a source. “I wanted to make sure if we went into the tree business, we did it in a way that really aligned with our business and our floral program,” McConahay said.

Over half of the approximately 300 trees New Seasons originally bought from Harmony J.A.C.K. Farms have already sold. The farm is making arrangements to send more trees to the stores.

Besides writing, R. McKinley loves reading (especially historical fiction and science books), playing piano and flute, being involved in politics and community, working out, enjoying nature, and hanging out with four wonderful cats.