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Saturday, December 15, 2007

Profile: Spencer Grant, Christmas tree farmer

(photo by Joeff Davis)

click to enlarge 7202.jpg

Spencer Grant, owner of Yule Forest in Stockbridge, has been farming Christmas trees for 35 years. The former WWII, Korean War and Eastern Airlines pilot also drops toys to kids on his farm from his plane.

Grant has about 2,000 trees on 35 acres. He used to have three times that many. He blames artificial trees for lower sales.

Grant once camped on his farm to keep some white pines from getting stolen. When a pickup pulled up and two guys lept out with a saw, he stepped out with a shotgun. "You've never seen anyone run so fast," he says.

Grant sprays his trees for aphids. "They're dormant when it's cold. But when someone takes the tree into a nice, warm house, the aphids start running all over. Then I get a call, 'There's spiders all over my house!'"

Grant says he doesn't prefer any type of tree. "Sometimes people will cut down a tree and not like it, so we'll use it. They all look good to me."

On what he does the rest of the year: "Sit around and get drunk! No, actually, Christmas trees keep you pretty busy. There's always something that needs doing -- not that I always do it."

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