Connecticut's Second Capital
Thanks to the efforts of three Easton women, Easton may soon be known as the official ‘Christmas Tree Capital of Connecticut.’ Here’s why that’s a boon for our town.
By Stephanie Christie
If you reside in Easton chances are high that you moved here for one of these reasons: small, high quality schools, rural living, access to public open spaces and local farms, scenic vistas, nearby beaches, and a ‘relatively’ easy commute to several metropolitan areas as well as more elbow room than in neighboring communities.
We may be a small town, but our appetite for connecting through nature, and nurturing its abundance, is mighty.
“We may be a small town, but our appetite for connection through nature, and nurturing its abundance, is mighty.”
There are over 20 farms in the town of Easton, of varying sizes and crops, more than 7,700 acres of protected open space, over 1.3 square miles of water which are mostly reservoirs owned by the Aquarion Water Company, and only 7,700 or so residents. That’s a lot of wiggle room. While this may present some challenges balancing our tax burden, it is not without prodigious benefits.
From June through October Sport Hill Road is abuzz with tourists visiting for a taste of our lifestyle, venturing north on day trips from New York or Stamford, just to pick berries, apples, and pumpkins, and to give their kids a sense of the country and some fresh air. Moving into winter months the atmosphere quiets, but for that brief period between Thanksgiving and January, when Easton’s roads again swell with out-of-state licenses and Christmas trees doubling as hood ornaments.
Several years ago Easton resident, Lori Cochran-Dougall, realized while working on a town committee, that Easton was pretty unique for its abundance of Christmas tree farms. True, many rural communities have tree farms, but typically those are designated long-growth farms for lumber. Easton residents have disproportionately chosen to grow Christmas tree varieties, and leverage their proximity to one another, to build a town-wide market for the holiday staple. According to our Town Hall 9 of the 30 working farms in our small town focus on Christmas trees, lead by the massive property on Maple Row.
Seeing the market opportunity for what it was, Cochran-Dougall, a seasoned marketer, began campaigning to achieve the Christmas tree capital designation for Easton in 2016. In 2018 she partnered with fellow Eastonite and graphic designer, Allison Deyo Taylor, to develop a logo which they then printed on signs and posted throughout town in November-December of 2018.
Now our newly-elected State House Representative for District 135, Eastonite Anne Hughes, has thrown her support behind the initiative. Hopes are high that we will receive official status by the end of 2019. For Easton and our farms this provides a unique marketing opportunity to drive sales and tax revenues from additional traffic and retail sales during the holiday season, and there are a number of ways they could join forces to co-market for better results.
For many proud Eastonites who are not farmers, it simply reaffirms another of our town’s unique strengths. We know when our small enclave works together, that we can achieve great things.