BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — "This lot has been here since 1977, 42 years ago. I started it right out of high school and we're still going strong," said Chris Maretich Alpine Christmas Trees owner.
One family has been selling Christmas trees in Bakersfield for 42 years.
"The oldest Christmas tree grower in the united states was from right here in Bakersfield of all things and he was doing Christmas trees before the depression making money for a few cents," aid Maretich.
That very man hired a young Chris Maretich to cut wild trees for money during high school and that's where he learned the industry.
"I've had people ask me 'well you just go out and get trees,' and I'm like its not that simple," he said. "It's just like any other farming here whether you're doing almonds or pistachios road crops its farming and it takes a lot of continuous work."
The industry is a year long production. It can take anywhere from eight to 12 years to get a seven or eight foot tree. Their Christmas tree farms are based in Oregon where they are planted, grown, shaped, and shipped.
"I know people look at the cost of trees and they think wow it's 50 bucks that's a lot but think of taking your money and putting it somewhere for 10 years before you get to take it out and hope its still there.. what we spend on the Christmas is significant," said Maretich.
He said it's the memories his family and his dogs see people make in these lots that make the hard work worth it.
"The one thing about real trees compared to artificial trees is that you make memories here you play with the dogs you run around the whole family picks the trees its an experience," he said, "Time is something you can never get back so if you can go out there and make memories with your family what better way to do it."