2023 White House Christmas tree chosen from Ashe Co. farm

First Lady Jill Biden will get the tree at 3 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 20.
First Lady Jill Biden will get the tree at 3 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 20.
Published: Nov. 15, 2023 at 1:23 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 15, 2023 at 5:27 PM EST
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FLEETWOOD, N.C. (WBTV) - One North Carolina Christmas Tree grower has something to be proud of.

The White House selected one of the farm’s trees for its holiday display. The Cline Church Farm in Ashe County has supplied trees to local and state officials before, but this is the biggest prize yet.

“For a tree grower it’s at the top of your game,” the owner of the Church Tree Farm said.

For the rows and rows of trees lining a remote farmland in Ashe County, only one tree draws as much attention as it does, and it’s not because of the big bow on the front.

“It’s easy to see the crummy trees from the really great trees,” Christmas tree buyer Jim McLeod said.

This is no crummy tree.

“This tree represents perseverance and hope,” a family member explained.

And while many that look just like it remain stuck in the ground, this 19-year-old Frasier Fur is headed to a very special place.

Clive Church runs the Christmas tree farm bearing his name. As part of a nationwide competition, they submitted samples of their work to judges who would pick a winner to have one of their trees sent to Washington to adorn the Blue Room of the White House.

“This is the Superbowl of the Christmas tree industry,” Church said.

The Church family won, beating more than a dozen other growers. But how does one grow the perfect Christmas tree? Maybe plenty of water and sun? Maybe socialization?

“Somebody did something special is all I can figure,” family farmer Amber Scott said.

This tree may have had something special.

“It’s been visited well over a hundred times in its lifetime,” Scott explained.

So do people visiting it make the tree grow bigger?

“That’s funny,” Scott chuckled.

Just in case things didn’t go well, the Grinch was on standby, axe in hand.

Once cut, a crane guided by workers loaded it onto a truck to get ready for the big trip up north.

“It’s the greatest honor you can have as a Christmas tree grower because you’re deemed the best grower by all industry peers,” Jennifer Greene, with the N.C. Christmas Tree Association, said.