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Despite Christmas tree debate, local farm thriving

Posted at 5:05 PM, Dec 10, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-10 18:10:58-05

FORT OSAGE, Mo. — It's a holiday tradition that could be dying. According to the American Christmas Tree Association, a growing number of families are going fake, but Fort Osage Farm is doing their best to keep the holiday experience real.

"I don't have anything against it myself, but I do love the smell of something real," said Kim Luke, Co-Owner of Fort Osage Farm. 

Call her biased, but the aroma of Christmas trees has surrounded Luke for the past 17 years. Luke and her husband own the 20-acre farm full of Christmas trees. 

Luke said this holiday season has been something special, seeing more families come out to cut down their own tree. 

"People want natural, they want natural things, they want things that are grown, that they know where they come from and support small business, people are more interested in that then they've ever been," said Luke. 

Year's ago, it was a completely different Christmas time story. In 2014, Luke said a fungus attacked nearly 18,000 trees. 

"We haven't had as big of an inventory as we had before that and that's so disappointing to your families that come out," said Luke. 

Their crop has since been on the rise, along with the demand for real Christmas trees. This year, Luke said they were able to tag 400 of their own trees to sell. This year doubled last and Luke said she's expecting to tag between 600 and 700 in 2019. 

Business continues to grow at Fort Osage Farm but that's not the case everywhere else. The American Christmas Tree Association said less than 20 percent of people cut down a real tree for the holidays. Luke said, often times, families don't want the mess of the needles or don't have the space. In her opinion, the smell and tradition of cutting one down is worth it. That's why Luke and her husband continue to run the business. 

"Ninety-nine of all the people that come are just at the height of their Christmas spirit, so you get to witness that and that's fun," said Luke. 

Currently, Fort Osage Farm has 30 field-grown trees left. They also received a shipment Monday of 50 more Fraser's to sell. 

Luke suggests checking the Fort Osage Farm Facebook Page for updates before driving out to the farm. Once those trees have been purchased, they will close their doors for the year.

After building a larger gift shop area, the farm is entering the wedding venue business. Their first wedding will be held in May 2019.