Supplies tight, but Christmas tree lots open in county
With the weather no longer frightful, Napa County shoppers turned their attention on Sunday to decking their halls – with fresh Christmas trees going on sale at various lots around the valley.
The segue from bountiful Thanksgiving dinners to holiday greenery appeared swift at some Napa tree lots, whose owners reported brisk sales with Christmas exactly a month away. Those looking to adorn their living rooms with firs or spruces, however, were advised to shop earlier than usual, amid shrinking supplies due to drought conditions in the Pacific Northwest forests where many of the trees are born.
Tree inventories in Washington state and Oregon are smaller, and wholesale costs higher, this year as scant rainfall has killed or stunted seedlings that otherwise would grow into display trees, according to several local sellers.
“I had 2,800 trees out of 5,000 (sought), and then I got a call from a guy who lost his place in Oroville,” said Steve Arampatzis in between greeting midday customers at Steve’s Trees, his annual tree lot at the Napa Valley Expo. “I went there and bought another 1,200 trees from him, so I’ve got 4,100 now – but I’m still short this year.”
Arampatzis began his 34th tree-selling season Nov. 17 amid conditions made tougher by windblown smoke from the massive Camp Fire in Butte County, which triggered an extended air-pollution alert in Napa and the Bay Area.