Christmas in July

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ELY, Iowa (KCRG) - Temperatures on Saturday felt like they were in the triple digits, but that’s not stopping dozens of Iowa Christmas tree farmers from heading out to the field to learn a thing or two.

“It’s only four months away,” said Mark Banowetz, owner of Cedar’s Edge Evergreen Market in Ely.

Banowetz is hosting the annual Iowa Christmas Tree Association meeting. Farmers from across the state are giving tips and tricks to help new farmers like Banowetz. He said he took the farm over around three years ago. Getting to meet with farmers who have decades of experience, such as ICA board member Timothy Andrews, is really helping him out.

“There is no right or wrong way to do things,” Andrews said. “There’s just more work and less work. These guys know shortcuts and can save you money.”

Farmers are also gearing up for the rapidly approaching holiday season.

“Venders all came down and we bought our wreath materials and other things we will need for the Christmas tree season,” said Banowetz.

Though it was a scorcher of a day, Banowetz said there only four more months until they open again to make more memories.

“We had this one guy, probably our first customer, he walked on the farm and I asked him ‘could I help you?’ and he said no,” said Banowetz. “They have been driving back and forth before we opened and knew what tree they wanted. So, he and the grandkids all walked out to the furthest tree on the lot and hauled it away.”

Cedar’s Edge Evergreen Market opens the first weekend after Thanksgiving.