Keith Chesnutt Descends on Raleigh City Farm, Bearing Eco-Friendly Christmas Trees for Sale
Here’s a confession from a recently transplanted New Yorker: when I sat down to write up a profile of Keith Chesnutt, of High Country Firs, I kept inadvertently referring to him as “Joey.”As in, Joey Chestnut. The competitive eater who holds the record for eating the most hot dogs with buns (“HBD”) at the annual Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest in Coney Island, Brooklyn. That would be 69 hot dogs in twelve minutes. (I was there. This is something I can never un-see.)Keith Chesnutt, however, is a young farm entrepreneur looking to be known for something a little easier on the eyes: Christmas trees. His company, High Country Firs, which sells trees, wreaths, and garlands, posts up for the holiday season at the Raleigh City Farm beginning Friday, November, 28 (see below for full schedule). I look forward to meeting Keith, inhaling the sweet smell of pine needles, and forming some new associations. (Less hot dogs, more Christmas.)Growing up in Blowing Rock, North Carolina, Keith has always had an interest in forestry. He is part owner of a portable sawmill. He likes to make furniture in his spare time. When Keith moved to Raleigh to study Wildlife, Fisheries, and Conservation Biology at NC State, he decided to sell Christmas trees to make some extra money. A friend's father, who owned a company in Boone, agreed to front Keith the trees as long as Keith could pay him back by Christmas.The rest is history. High Country Firs is entering its third holiday season, and Raleigh City Farm now counts Keith among its growing ranks of farm entrepreneurs.The trees Keith sells, Fraser firs, are local (fresh!) and sustainably harvested and transported, making them greener than most in every sense of the word. Using Integrated Pest Management techniques allows him to minimize pesticide use. He also runs biodiesel fuel in the trucks he transports the trees in; when Keith first started High Country Firs, his brother-in-law was making biodiesel (a nontoxic, biodegradable, renewable fuel that can be manufactured from vegetable oils, animal fats, or recycled restaurant grease) at Appalachian State, and Keith bought fuel from him wholesale to lower his bottom line. This also happens to significantly reduce the carbon footprint (trunkprint?) of the trees.I read somewhere that Fraser firs, commonly referred to as “the Cadillac of Christmas trees," have been the official White House Christmas Tree 11 times, and have won the National Christmas Tree contest more than any other species.It’s no Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest, but that’s just fine with me.
Hours of Operation:
Fri Nov 28th-Sun Nov 30th, 10am-6pmWed Dec 3rd-Fri Dec 5th, 4pm-7pmSat Dec 6th-Sun Dec 7th, 10am-7pmWed Dec 10th-Fri Dec 12th, 4pm-7pmFri Dec 13th-Sun Dec 14th, 10am-7pm
Open full time after Dec. 15th