For Christmas trees, a tale of 2 Carolinas

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By Jonathan Oh

UNDATED (AP) -- Although the spirit of the season is the same, it's a tale of two Carolinas when it comes to growing Christmas trees.

North Carolina is the nation's second-largest tree producer behind Oregon and harvests more than 5 million each year. Most are Fraser firs grown in the high Appalachians. This year, one of those Fraser firs from Ashe County is gracing the Blue Room as the White House Christmas tree.

While North Carolina has about 1,600 growers, in South Carolina, Christmas trees are a cottage industry with about 45 growers harvesting only about 30,000 trees. Most are mom-and-pop operations.

South Carolina growers say they do it for a second income and for the joy of growing the trees and sharing the season with others.

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