he tree loved its spot on this sunny slope, nestled in the hills outside the village of Ham-Nord.
It thrived here among the acres and acres of Christmas trees that the farmer had planted in long, wide rows that look like green stripes on a woolly scarf.
As a boy, Christian helped his father on the dairy farm that had been passed down through five generations of Morins. He loved working outdoors, but he hated the smell of cow dung and the relentless morning and evening milkings. So the dairy farmer’s son went to college to study forestry.
When he graduated, Morin and his father bought a small tree farm in a neighbouring village. It came with the names and phone numbers of five Christmas tree sellers in New Jersey who placed orders every November. The Morins, père et fils, bought another parcel of land and planted more Balsam firs. Before long, the cows had all been replaced by Christmas trees.
Now it is Christian and his wife Doris Vargas-Mora who own the farm, which has expanded to 1,200 acres. When you sit at their kitchen table and look out the window, there are only Christmas trees for as far as the eye can see. Ideal Plantations they call it.
On a frosty mid-November morning, in the grip of the first real snow storm of winter, Morin was out in the field. The Christmas tree orders were in. It was time to harvest 10,000 trees, some big and some small, to wrap them up and ship them out.