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Despite rising cost of Christmas trees, Ottawa residents flock to farms

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'Tis the season when people come out by the hundreds to pick a 'real' Christmas tree, but this year, prices have gone up.

At Fallowfield Tree Farm in Stittsville on Thursday, people were lined up to grab a tree before they sell out.

For Karel and Marcela Ochman, having a real tree is important.

“Real is real. Fake is fake,” said Karel.

 "It's our tradition. We grew up with that. We are from Czech Republic and we just continue in this tradition."

This year, the price of a real Christmas tree has risen.

At Fallowfield, trees were selling for $10 a foot before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Owner Kenny Stuyt says interest in real trees skyrocketed when everyone was home during the lockdowns, which caused a significant shortage.

"The last couple of years, we stood at $13 a foot and now we're at $14 a foot," said Stuyt.

"Everybody was buying a lot of trees. So all over North America, all the plantations were getting cleaned out and we didn't have as much stock.”

At the King of Christmas Trees on Merivale Road in Nepean, owner Dusty Belisle also had to raise his prices.

"We were selling a lot of the trees between $45 and $50," said Belisle.

But now he says, some trees cost almost double.

"We have some at $100 or even $120."

Despite the high price tags, for many, nothing beats experience of picking a real tree.

For tree-seeker Catherine Ella, you can't put a price on Christmas.

"I love the smell. I love doing this and I love just getting a real tree," she said.

Bill Blackwell has an artificial tree in his house and he's here for a different reason. He's collecting real garlands to place around his house.

"I just want the smell,” said Blackwell. "It's called a marriage compromise. I want the smell, she wants the tree.”

With less than 20 days until Christmas, trees will be flying off farms in the next few days.

"Somewhere between two and three thousand," said Stuyt.

The upcoming weekend is expected to be the busiest time of year for Christmas tree sales, with many farms and sellers saying they can sell out in just two or three days.

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