Agriculture Press Release
December 9, 1998
Florida Christmas Tree Association Presents Trees to
TALLAHASSEE The Florida Christmas Tree Association presented Gov. Lawton Chiles and Agriculture Commissioner Bob Crawford with "Fresh from Florida" Christmas trees at The Capitol today.
Mary Ellen Ergle, of Ergle Family Christmas Tree Farms near Dade City, won the honor of presenting the trees by being selected as the Florida Christmas Tree Associations champion grower for 1998. Trees grown by Ergle took grand champion and reserve champion honors in the associations annual contest, earning her the honor of presenting trees to both the Governor and the Commissioner of Agriculture.
The Ergle Family Christmas Tree Farm was established in Pasco County in 1979. Since then, plantings have increased to 40 acres, making it the oldest and largest Christmas tree farm in Central Florida. The Ergle family has earned the reputation as "Floridas winningest Christmas tree producers" by being selected as champion growers many times. In 1986, Mary Ellen and her late husband, Omar, were the first to represent the association by presenting trees to the Governor and Commissioner. The Ergles have a second farm in Hernando County, operated by Mary Ellens daughter and son-in-law, Tony and Debbie Harris.
The Florida Christmas Tree Association has more than 100 members throughout the state. Most Christmas tree farms in Florida are small, family-run businesses. Florida Christmas tree growers expect to sell more than 150,000 trees this holiday season, generating farm cash receipts of more than $3 million.
The association has a full-color brochure with information about Florida Christmas trees. For a copy of the brochure, or to find a Christmas tree farm near you, call the association at 1-800-554-TREE, or visit www.fl-ag.com on the Internet.
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