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Minnesota Grown Balsam Fir Reigns Tall in Capitol Rotunda


December 11, 2019

St. Paul, MN: Happy Land Tree Farm, grower of the 2019 Minnesota State Fair Grand Champion Christmas Tree, has donated a 17-foot balsam fir tree now on display in the Minnesota State Capitol building rotunda. This marks the return of a tradition, that dates back to the early 1980s, of recognizing Minnesota Christmas tree producers’ contributions to the state’s agricultural economy. During the Capitol renovation, the tree had been displayed on the Capitol lawn.

Happy Land Tree Farm is a 600-acre tree farm owned and operated by brothers Ken and Phil Olson in Sandstone, Minnesota. Happy Land took back-to-back Grand Champion prizes at both the 2018 and 2019 fairs, and, over the decades, their farm has won numerous state fair grand championships and reserve championships.

Ken and his wife Sandy enjoy many aspects of growing Christmas trees, but they especially enjoy creating memories.

“Families have come with their kids to find their perfect tree again and again over the years,” said Sandy Olson, “and now those same families are coming with their grandkids! I love seeing that and watching everyone enjoying their hot cocoa together after they find the perfect tree.”

Christmas trees are a renewable crop grown specifically for harvest, and farmers regularly plant two trees for every one tree that is harvested during the holidays. The trees can take up to a decade to grow to market height and are regularly clipped to ensure they grow in the traditional shape. After the holiday season, Christmas trees may be recycled for mulch or biomass, further extending their use.

In addition to Happy Land, the Minnesota Grown website lists more than 60 Christmas tree growers across the state, making it easy for consumers to find their nearest tree farm or retail lot.


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