SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — The annual tree-cutting ceremony for the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets was held at New York State Grown & Certified Stokoe Farms in Scottsville, N.Y. on Monday, November 21.

New York State Agriculture Commissioner Richard Ball led the event by cutting down a nine-foot-tall Fraser Fir that will be displayed at the Finger Lakes Welcome Center. The event highlights the Christmas tree industry in New York and encourages families to shop at local farms to pick their trees for the holiday season.

New York ranks fourth in the United States in acres dedicated to growing Christmas trees with almost 19,000 acres!

“New York’s agricultural industry plays such an important role in holiday traditions in ways that many New Yorkers may be surprised to discover,” says Commissioner Ball. “From the trees we gather around and wreaths we decorate with, to the food we eat and specialty items we purchase as thoughtful gifts, our local farms and agricultural businesses contribute to this festive season in incredible ways. We hope New Yorkers remember local farmers and businesses during this season of giving, and all year long.”

New York State is home to 875 tree farms and by choosing one this season you can support the agriculture sector, which has a $13.8 million economic impact, according to the Christmas Tree Farmers Association of New York.

“Thank you to Commissioner Richard Ball for continuing this tradition,” says Gene Knudsen, President of the Christmas Tree Farmers Association of New York. “We look forward to it every year, as it unofficially kicks off the busiest and most magical time of year for Christmas tree farmers. We hope those who celebrate Christmas will bring their families to a local farm, enjoy an outdoor outing, and pick a fresh centerpiece for their traditions.”

Many Christmas tree farms also follow strict environmental standards as they are members of the NYS Grown & Certified Program.

If you would like to continue to support New York products visit a Taste NY store, or you can order products online, here!