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Why to Buy an Organic Christmas Tree


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Photo credit: Flickr user randomdepth

People give plenty of thought to how their food is grown and where it comes from, but what about Christmas trees? They all look green, but like any monoculture Christmas trees are heavily sprayed with a cocktail of pesticides and herbicides including glyphosate, dimethoate and di-syston 15-G, according to the Organic Consumers Association.

Most of those poisons won't make it into your living room, because they wash off in the rain and snow before the tree is harvested. But some do, and because of both health and environmental concerns, some buyers are switching to either organic or natural Christmas trees.

According to a recent New York Times article, trees can be certified-organic, meaning they were raised sustainably without the use of synthetic pesticides or fertilizers. Or they can be "certified-natural," a new designation that means essentially the same thing but saves farmers time and money on paperwork and filing fees.

In the Chicago area, there are really only two places that grow and sell organic Christmas trees, and one is already closed for the season, so if you're still in the market for a tree, there's really only one place to go: Ben's Christmas Tree Farm.

Ben's is located in Harvard, IL, which is about a two-hour drive from Chicago. That sounds like a long way to go for a tree, but hundreds of Chicagoans have been doing it since the farm was founded in 1983, and once you're there you can take a free horse-drawn wagon ride before cutting your own tree.



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