NORTH CAROLINA’S CLINE CHURCH NURSERY AND THE 2023 WHITE HOUSE CHRISTMAS TREE
Cline and Ellen Church started planting Fraser Fir and White Pine seedlings on family farmland in 1974. And in1977, Cline Church Nursery was formed, and the first trees were harvested in 1981. What began as a small operation is now a 500 acre tree farm with Fraser Fir Christmas trees and Nursery Stock in various stages of growth.
Each year, NCTA hosts a national tree contest, at which growers, industry experts and consumers vote to select the Real Christmas Tree grower who will provide the official White House Christmas Tree.
In 2022 Cline Church was selected as Reserve Champion and had the distinction of presenting a North Carolina Fraser fir Christmas tree for display in the Vice President's residence.
In 2023, The National Christmas Tree Association selected Cline Church Nursery as it's Grand Champion grower. As Grand Champion, they provided and presented a North Carolina Fraser fir Christmas tree to First Lady Jill Biden on Monday, Nov. 20 that will be displayed in the Blue Room of the White House for the Christmas season.
This is a tradition that began in 1966 when Lyndon B. Johnson was President and since that time the National Christmas Tree Association has held a prestigious national competition to select the official White House Blue Room tree .
This year’s tree was 19 feet tall, 11.5 feet wide, and was planted 19 years ago. The 19-foot tree was trimmed to 18.5 feet for the Blue Room.
Cline Farm traveled to Cambridge, Minnesota in early August to compete in the National Christmas Tree Association Tree & Wreath Contest. There it competed with a 7' Fraser Fir against several other states. They were judged by industry peers and the membership of NCTA, and then were named Grand Champion for 2023. This is what earns the honor of presenting a tree to the First Lady.
On October ninth, a damp Monday, two officials from the White House came to Cline farm and selected from six trees that met the specifications for White House Blue Room Tree.
Also present on that rainy afternoon were members of the Ashe County Chamber of Commerce, North Carolina Christmas Tree Association, North Carolina Cooperative Extension, local media outlets and Ashe County local government.
The tree was then harvested on November fifteenth and then it was sent off in style - hauled by the North Carolina Department of Agriculture's NC Fraser Fir Trailer.
The tree was prayed over in the field and blessed before it set out on its journey.
Special thanks to Amber Scott of Cline Church Nursery in Fleetwood, NC. for this article.
Cline Church Nursery has given its permission for this publication.