Ho Ho Ho

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Family Christmas tree

Christmas tree buyers have always been a finicky bunch, but tree growers say they are getting even tougher. For starters, customers want perfect trees -- trees that look so good they could be artificial, as one farmer put it. If that isn't enough, many customers who cut their own trees or participate in the cutting want it to be an "experience". In response, so-called "choose and cut" tree farms put on parties where buyers sip hot drinks, sing carols, go on hay rides and make looking for a tree an occasion. . . . Walter Backofen, who owns Hill Farm in Plainfield, calls it the "yuppification" of tree farming. "You have to take the Walt Disney approach to selling these days". . . . To Backofen, that means "going out in the cold and being jolly as hell with the chocolate." Backofen laughs about the changes, but says he is winding down his business because of them. Conway 1993