Retailers haul their own Christmas trees

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Like many local farm stand owners, Darryl and Pam Glennon make use of their al-fresco retail space on Spring Close Highway in Amagansett during the holidays by selling Christmas trees.

Their operation is not elaborate. There are no strings of lights illuminating the rows of pines for viewing at night, no signs announcing thousands of trees and lowest prices and no Santa Claus waving to passing cars.

The Glennons offer personal attention and fresh goods to draw customers to their out-of-the-way sliver of farmland. No, the Glennons do not sell trees grown in East Hampton. But they do pick out the trees they sell personally and haul them here from Maine themselves.

The effort evolved from some tree-picking they were doing at the Maine home of Mrs. Glennon’s mother, Betty Schellinger Miller. She moved to Maine in 1994 and each Thanksgiving since, the Glennons have headed there to visit her. The back lot of her sprawling property is full of pines. The Glennons got in the habit of cutting a few for their own holiday season at home.

Seven years ago, after they bought a 1.5-acre agricultural reserve area off Spring Close Highway, the Glennons decided to make the trip using their GMC 3500 flatbed pick-up and see if they could turn the 600-mile round-trip journey into a for-profit venture.

“It costs more to go up there with a truck and a trailer than it would in just the car” because of gas, tolls and the ferry charge. “For the amount of time we put in, it’s not a lot of profit,” Mr. Glennon said this week. “But in a sense we’d be doing it anyway and we had the truck and trailer. It extends our season a little bit.”

They supplement the few trees they cut at Mrs. Millers’ with a supply they cut fresh elsewhere, most from a nursery called Finestkind Tree Farm. Its full-shaped balsam firs frequently win awards at state fairs and from the Maine Christmas Tree Association, according to Mr. Glennon.

With the pick-up and the landscaping trailer they tow along, the Glennons can bring up to 150 trees to Long Island. This year, concerned about the slumping economy, they brought 
back 125. But a few were doozies. Mr. Glennon had a 19-footer, a 16-footer and 14-footer left for sale as of last week.

“They’re very nice trees,” Mr. Glennon said pridefully. “I think we’re the only ones that go and get them ourselves. It doesn’t pay to do it unless you’re going anyway.” His prices, he added, are “just as good or even better than most other guys out here.”

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