By Billie Eder and Bailey Griffiths
Ron and Barbara Junghans have been planting and selling Christmas trees since 1979, but they have never seen a season as bad as this one.
Their farm in Duffy’s Forest felt the full force of La Nina this year, and record rainfall has caused root rot which Ron estimates has destroyed somewhere between 300 and 400 of their trees.
“This is so different. We’ve never had anything like this. We have had it wet before, but not the duration. It’s never been so persistent,” he said.
Demand is so high at the Junghan’s farm that they would usually order cut trees to satisfy customer demand, but farms in Victoria where they would usually buy them from have also suffered, as the climate continues to wreak havoc across Australia’s east coast.
“There’s not nearly enough for demand,” said Ron.
However, the semi-retired farmer said that the local community had been as eager as ever and that when bookings opened on November 21 they sold out within the first 24 hours.
For Gloria and Tony Molluso, selling Christmas trees has always been a way for them to connect with local families.
The couple has been part of the northern beaches community for 20 years, at first through Tony’s fruit shop in Avalon, but now as part of their business The Fruitful Boxes which delivers fruit and vegetables.
“This year we touched base with our supplier a few weeks ago, and he said that he’s lost a whole paddock of trees due to all the floods,” Gloria said.
“We normally sell about 700 trees [but] we have to, for the first time ever, take it day by day.”
The Molluso’s supplier lost 4500 trees to flooding, and they had no idea how many would be in the delivery truck that was due to arrive this weekend.
“It makes it a bit tricky for us too because we are getting inundated with inquiries,” Gloria said.
Although profits from Christmas Trees are supplementary to the business, Gloria said that after the hectic December period they close for the whole of January, and the trees are usually a big profit that allows them to do that.
But despite the shortages and the weather, it doesn’t mean that Christmas is completely cancelled.
Scouts NSW told The Sun-Herald that although they had noticed a shortage in supply, the organisation had strong ties with many of their growers, and that there would still be thousands of trees in more than 20 locations across Sydney.
And for families turning to artificial trees, Big W has already recorded a 6.3 per cent increase in sales compared with last year.
Source: Thanks smh.com