Sponsored by Oregon Business

Oregon Christmas trees fetch premium prices

| Print |  Email
Friday, December 01, 2006



AURORA — Last Christmas season, Clayton Valley Pumpkin Farm and Christmas Trees made a big to-do over a line of Willamette Valley-grown noble firs it was selling.

The Northern California outlet held an exclusive showing of the trees, gave them their own display and played up their beauty, longevity, scarcity and Oregon upbringing. They charged 40% more for the select nobles — and in no time at all sold all 100 of its so-called designer Christmas trees.

“It’s one of the fastest sales I’ve ever had,” says David Osteen, Clayton Valley’s president, “and people are coming back in droves to reserve them for this year.”

Known as Oregon’s Noble Vintage, the stately firs — and the accompanying upscale marketing push — are a farm consortium’s response to the drooping sales, glutted market and increased faux fir competition facing Oregon’s Christmas tree growers.

“The industry’s been kind of stagnant,” says Tom McNabb, sales director for Yule Tree Farms, one of three Clackamas County growers involved in the program. “Nobody’s really putting any interest in what they’re doing, so we wanted to change that trend.”

The consortium debuted the ONV in 2004 and sold about 1,500 of the trees; it expects to sell about 4,000 this year.

Just about a dozen retailers nationwide, including one in the New York’s Hamptons, carry the ONV. They pay 15% more for the swanky trees, but the retail markup easily makes up for it. Osteen’s regular nobles sell for $89.95; the ONV’s go to a mostly upper-crust crowd for $134.

The ONV has at least helped generate some renewed interest from retailers and consumers — a good thing, considering that Oregon’s Christmas tree industry has been shedding needles lately.

Though still national champ for production, Oregon saw the value of its crop fall from $114 million in 2003 to $108 million last year, the result of too many trees and not enough buyers.

“It’s not that perfect sweet spot where supply and demand are really in line,” says Bryan Ostlund of the Pacific Northwest Christmas Tree Association.

McNabb says that while it’s important to keep the number of trees in check, another key component is to keep people engaged, thus the designer tree approach.

“If you’ve got more trees coming on, you’ve got to say, ‘Time to generate more interest,’” he says. “That’s why we started doing this — to generate interest and get people excited.”

— Jon Bell



#1 RE: Oregon Christmas trees fetch premium pricesGuest 2012-11-07 18:22:16
This comment has been deleted by Administrator

More Articles

The death and life of American cities

Linda Baker
Monday, November 02, 2015
housingoldpdx thumbBY LINDA BAKER

The hollowing out of the American city is now a bona fide cultural meme.  Newspapers, magazines and digital media sites are publishing story after story about the morphing of urban grit and diversity into bastions of wealth and commodity culture.


Tinker, Tailor, Portland Maker

November/December 2015
Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The artisan generation redefines manufacturing.


Reader Input: Made in Oregon

November/December 2015
Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Two trends dominate the manufacturing sector: onshoring and the rise of small-scale production manufacturing, known as the "maker economy."


The War Room

November/December 2015
Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Veteran political consultant Carol Butler plays to win.


Where Do We Go from Here?

Guest Blog
Wednesday, October 21, 2015
102115-thumbBY JASON NORRIS | CFA

Volatility reigned supreme over the summer. The old Wall Street adage of, “Sell in May and go away,” was prophetic in 2015.


Meet Me at the Crossroads, ESPN

The Latest
Friday, October 30, 2015

Worldwide Leader in Sports struggles to cope with new media landscape, forcing us to adjust our behavior as consumers.


Make the business case, governor

Linda Baker
Thursday, November 05, 2015
aoikatebrownthumbBY LINDA BAKER

Gov. Kate Brown delivered the keynote speech at the Associated Oregon Industries annual policy forum yesterday.  Speaking to a Republican-aligned audience of about 100 business and public policy leaders, the governor was out of her comfort zone.

Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02