Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Goodness Grows in North Carolina

North Carolina is an interesting place. It is a dynamic region that for the past 50 years has been moving from a manufacturing and agricultural based economy to - well, something else. North Carolina for many years has been the home of farms (tobacco, soy beans, sweet potatoes, cotton, and hogs) and mills (textiles and furniture). Now, however, banking, technology, pharmaceuticals, industrial research and development, and the service industry make up the majority of North Carolina's economic life. (NC is home to Bank of America and Wachovia, Dell's newest and largest manufacturing/distribution facility, the largest IBM installation outside of NY, GlaxoSmithKline...)

Even with all of these economic changes, agriculture remains a part of NC culture. One of the largest agribusinesses in NC is tree farming. Primarily tree farming in NC is dedicated to producing Christmas trees. This year, as in many years past, the White House Christmas tree came from North Carolina. It was grown in a tiny place called Laurel Springs. There's a star on the map below to give you an idea of where that is exactly. It's near the "e" and "s" of "States". Click here for more info on tree farming in North Carolina.

One holiday tradition that my family had while I was growing up was to go and pick out a Christmas tree from a tree farm. We'd normally go the weekend after Thanksgiving.

Here's a tree farm in the mountains of NC.

Another the summertime

The idea is that you go out and pick a tree that you like. Then a guy comes and cuts it down for you with a chain saw. They carry the tree to a machine that wraps the tree with twine or a net and then it's ready to take home. In this picture the bailing machine is the red thing in the center. You can also see a light dusting of snow in the background under the trees.

My family and friends "back home" are getting ready for Christmas - making plans, decorating, attending parties, shopping. Even though I do love humus and falafel, I've got to admit I miss being in the US at this time of year.


At 11/30/2005 7:08 PM, Blogger Sam said...

Unfortunately, I'm allergic to pine trees. However, a friend is letting us borrow a commercial-grade high-falutin' artificial tree. YAY! The Walmart special is going away!

My family tradition has been for years to get the box from under a bed or from the attic, separate all the pieces and put the tree together. It'd be nice to take a trip to the mountains and pick out a tree. Still, our trees always look nice. The cheaper the tree, the more you cover it with decorations! :)

At 12/01/2005 1:50 AM, Anonymous CDodson said...

You made me homesick and I'm sitting here with a NC Christmas tree.

At 12/01/2005 2:30 PM, Blogger John said...

I am coming to NC for Christmas!!

At 12/01/2005 6:05 PM, Anonymous Shirat_HaSirena said...

I miss it too.
Christmas is my favorite time of year in the US!


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