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Christmas tree demand lights up

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Ready for Christmas: Aberfeldy Nurseries’ Jay Benoza, front, and Padre Caesar prepare trees for customers (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
Important selection: Aberfeldy Nurseries’ Padre Caesar helps a customer pick out a tree (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Bermuda residents keen to get into the holiday spirit helped a supermarket sell its entire shipment of Christmas trees in an afternoon, the store’s manager revealed.

Danny Aguiar, of Harrington Hundreds grocery store, said the Smiths outlet sold a container load of about 200 Fraser Fir and Balsam trees in just two hours on Saturday.

He added that it sometimes takes two days to sell a shipment of trees.

Mr Aguiar said: “It was a bit chaotic. We got the okay to sell the trees at about 12:30pm, grouped them by size, and opened the gates.”

He added: “The reaction was ‘I want a tree’.”

Harrington Hundreds is among several outlets that have offered Christmas trees for sale on a pre-order or walk-in basis.

More are set to do so once the three container ships that serve Bermuda get back on schedule now that industrial action on the docks has ceased.

Aberfeldy Nursery in Paget has received two containers of trees thus far with four containers to come. All trees have been pre-ordered.

Julie Greaves, general manager at Aberfeldy, said “a portion” of the trees in one of the containers that arrived on the Bermuda Islander last Thursday and was inspected and unloaded on Sunday were burnt and not fit for sale.

Her concern is that trees in the next shipment to arrive may be burnt as well since they will have been sitting in the heat of a container for longer than is customary, the Bermuda Islander having missed a sailing to the island due to the disruption on the docks.

Ms Greaves said: “When we opened the second container last weekend, the heat was incredible. My fear is that containers three and four will also contain burnt trees.”

Of the trees that have been picked up, she said: “The response has been amazing. People want a tree, they want the tree up, and they want Christmas to come.”

The first two containers of trees to arrive at Sousa’s Garden Centre in Southampton on the weekend were all spoken for, but garden centre manager Lindsay Sousa said yesterday that she hopes to have more available for sale by December 7.

She said: “If the Bermuda Islander is unloaded between today and tomorrow, there’s no reason it can’t sail back to New Jersey on Friday, and then it would sail back here on Monday to arrive on Thursday, weather permitting.”

Ms Sousa said some trees in future shipments of Balsam and Fraser Firs will satisfy pre-orders, while others will be available for walk-in sales.

She said Sousa’s is not accepting any more pre-orders.

Lindo’s supermarkets expected their shipment of trees to arrive next Monday aboard the Oleander, and be available for sale a couple of days later following their inspection.

But the docks crisis has pushed the trees’ arrival on the island back for an indeterminate time.

Giorgio Zanol, president of the Lindo’s Group, said: “It all depends when the Oleander makes it back to New Jersey.”

Mr Zanol said each outlet of Lindo’s, in Devonshire and in Warwick, will have one container of trees available for sale.

He added that the stores are not taking any more pre-orders.

Mr Zanol said: “They are beautiful trees – every year, the trees have been beautiful for the last ten years.”

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Published November 26, 2020 at 8:05 am (Updated November 25, 2020 at 10:10 pm)

Christmas tree demand lights up

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