A Gluten-Free Vegan Mom Who Knows

A raw, grain-free, corn-free, soy-free, oil-free, celiac mama raising her two healthy celiac girls.

Our Tradition: Choosing Local Organic Christmas Trees While Making Memories

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Yesterday, we headed out to Homestead Nursery at Galloway to tag our trees (one balled, one cut) from our favorite local organic family-owned tree farm because it was a sunny mild day and we knew that a Nor’easter was heading our way.

Homestead - Our Local Organic Tree Farm

Tagging our organic trees at our local family tree farm: 26 November 2013

I have never owned an artificial tree for both health reasons and for environmental reasons.

Health Factors

Artificial trees are made from PVC and other toxins of which off gas while damaging indoor air quality and damaging the little lungs dancing around a beautifully decorated tree each year. I don’t know about you, but I prefer the smell of a real “Charlie Brown Christmas Tree” as Anna over at Green Talk refers to the healthier, more environmental real option verses the non-smelling, silently off-gassing artificial tree option that ends up the center piece during the holiday season.

Please read Anna’s article “Buy a Real Christmas Tree Just Like Charlie Brown” as it contains an immense amount of valuable information.

Environmental Factors

PVC does not break down, so if I bought an artificial tree, I better put it in my will, because that tree will be on this earth for millions of years. Compared to real Christmas trees, I love the cycle of for every one tree cut, 2-5 trees are planted. Daune plants 2000-5000 new trees each year as he sells 800-1000 trees each season. Also, a real tree nurtures our planet unlike artificial trees.

My community has a “treecycling” program (as Stephanie over at Good Girl Gone Green coins the term in her “5 Eco-Friendly Holiday Tree Ideas” article) where all the collected Christmas trees are turned into mulch and then my ACUA resells that mulch while using the profits to advance their recycling program (the ACUA in my community recycles 1-7 plastics, terra cycling and much more all in a convenient one-stream recycling pickup – I am one lucky girl for sure!).

However, even though I am comfortable with choosing a real tree verses an artificial tree, I still have environmental guilt from cutting down/killing a living tree of which has resulted with me to buy one balled tree to plant in our front yard in addition to the cut tree that resides in my family room during the holiday season.

Homestead Nursery balled tree

This average sized balled tree took a lot of muscle power to transport and plant. Job well done, guys!


You may be wondering why I don’t just buy a balled tree to decorate indoors. The reason is because the weight of the tree plus the weight of the root ball equals anywhere from 200 to 500 pounds for a 4-6′ tree. The balled tree also needs to stay in a cool spot in the home and should only be indoors for approximately 2 weeks. All of that is too much maintenance for me, especially because I am always cold in the winter and like to place our tree next to our fire place, so yes, we cut a tree for inside our home while planting a balled tree outside of our home. The low cost of the cut tree (see the prices below) allows us to also add a balled tree to our holiday budget.


Duane Demaree, owner of Homestead Nursery, gives my tree some final loving!

Duane Demaree, owner of Homestead Nursery, gives my tree some final loving!

Memories and Experiences

Some other huge advantages of buying our Christmas trees at our local tree farm are the memories that we create and the experiences that we cherish every year! I couldn’t imagine not having this family tradition in our lives. This year will be our forth year that we’ve gotten our trees from Homestead Nursery, and I love capturing precious moments on film while we spend time enjoying Duane’s tree farm.

Here is a video I made last year (stop back for a video that includes all four years of our Homestead tree farm memories – I’m in the final editing stages and need a couple more days)…


Homestead Nursery in Galloway

237 S. Cologne Avenue, Galloway, NJ 08215

(609) 965-4772


Organic Trees

Homestead Nursery does not treat/spray their trees at all. In the past (3 years ago to be exact), Duane used to treat his Douglas Fir trees for needle cast, a fungus that can wipe out his entire Douglas Fir population. He only treated his Douglas Firs and not his other trees. Most farmers treat their Douglas Fir trees because they are susceptible to disease whereas other types of pines are more resistant to disease and are normally not treated with pesticides. Duane has been lucky and has not seen any sign of needle cast since he stopped treating his Douglas Fir trees (I buy Norway pines every year).

All of the Christmas trees at Homestead Nursery are organic (farm land is considered organic if it has been free of pesticides and other toxins for three years).



  • All cut trees are $35.00 each
  • Balled trees 6′ and under are $55.00 (there may be a delivery charge depending where you live)
  • Decorated Wreathes are $15.00 each
  • Grave Blankets that have a moss base instead of the commonly used styrofoam making them environmentally friendly are $20.00


I’ll see you there when we return to Homestead to cut down our tree! Duane will deliver and plant our balled tree next week. Yay!!



To complete your Christmas holiday preparation, please head over and check out Anna’s Christmas posts over at Green Talk:

Don’t forget to read more great information in regards to choosing an eco-friendly Christmas tree by Stephanie over at Good Girl Gone Green:


Much Love and Happy Thanksgiving!! Priscilla

One Comment

  1. Thanks so much for mentioning both of my posts. I am so glad you wrote about this subject since sourcing locally and organic is fundamental in greening your holidays.

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