Seekonk Tree Farm was selected for the annual 'Green Friday' pronouncement. MDAR Commissioner John Lebeaux traveled to the family-owned farm to present Peter Sweet Jr. and family with the state proclamation encouraging state residents to buy their greenery local.
GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — State Department of Agricultural Resources Commissioner John Lebeaux traveled to Seekonk Tree Farm to celebrate "Green Friday" with the cutting of a Christmas tree. The day is meant to encourage residents to source holiday plants from local farms.
Lebeaux presented the owners of the farm, the Sweet family, with a proclamation that marked Nov. 26 as Green Friday and outlined the many benefits of their line of work.
This includes adding $3.5 million to the state's economy each year with the sale of about 83,000 trees, providing a renewable source of energy when burned, producing biomass and removing carbon dioxide from the air, and providing stable refuge for wildlife.
"We try to rotate every year and it was the Berkshires turn this year," Lebeaux explained.
The farm has been in business since 1979, when Peter Alden Sweet Sr. married Carol Joan Wright. With the help of a $50,000 grant from MDAR, the family was able to build a gift shop/workshop that was completed about a year ago.
Lebeaux was amazed to hear that they sell about 2,000 homegrown trees a year.
"We're honored to have them here today," Peter Sweet Jr. said. "This whole operation here was possible by the grant we got last year."
The grant was an APR Improvement Grant that gives business planning and technical assistance to commercial farms that have land already protected through MDAR's Agricultural Preservation Restriction Program.
Sweet said it would not have been possible without the department's support and help.