Many people feel pressure around the holidays. But imagine if you had to grow, cut down and deliver a Christmas tree to the leader of the free world. Yet that’s exactly what Crystal Spring Tree Farm in Lehighton, Pennsylvania, recently did.
The farm, which has business insurance with Erie Insurance through T.W. Cooper Insurance Group in Lehighton, has a lot to celebrate. In addition to supplying the White House Christmas tree, Crystal Spring is also celebrating its 50th year in business.
Margaret Botek is co-owner of the farm along with her husband, Francis, and her son, Chris. She recently had time to chat about what it takes to get a Christmas tree into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
How many times have you supplied the White House Christmas tree?
In addition to 2014, we’ve delivered the White House’s Christmas tree in 2013, 2010 and 2006.
What kind of tree did you deliver to the Obamas this year?
Angela Reid, White House usher, along with White House Superintendent of Grounds Dale Haney and Chief Horticulturist Jim Adams with the National Park Service, handpicked a 19’ concolor fir. We cut it down by half a foot to make it a perfect fit for the Blue Room once the chandelier is removed.
This is only the third time since 1966 that a concolor fir has been displayed in the Blue Room.
How did your business get this opportunity?
The honor goes to the winner of the National Tree Contest sponsored by the National Christmas Tree Growers Association. We won the first time we competed in 2006 with a Colorado blue spruce. We only compete every four years since you can’t win more than once every four years. However, we ended up delivering the tree in 2013 since the farm that won did not have a tree big enough for the Blue Room.
Has any other Christmas tree farm delivered as many trees to the White House?
I’m not sure, but I don’t think any other farm has delivered four Christmas trees to the White House in 12 years.
What was it like presenting the tree to the First Family this year?
It was so special. I drove down with my husband and my son, Chris, and his two daughters, Ashley and Lauren. We delivered the tree on Black Friday. The tree comes out on a wagon. Michelle looks at the tree first then says “yes” to it. Sasha and Malia were also there with the dogs.
Since this is our third year delivering their tree, they remember us. Michelle gave each of us a hug and we took a photo together. They always send us a photo of the tree after it’s decorated and in the Blue Room.
Have your trees found their way into other illustrious homes?
Yes. We’ve had the honor of supplying Christmas trees to our state capital in Harrisburg 18 times.
Your business might not count the President among its customers, but it still needs business insurance to protect it from the unexpected. Talk to a local Erie Insurance Agent in your community for more information and a free quote.