City Tree Delivery's firs in Big Star's lot. (Photo by Ruthie Kott for RedEye)
It’s not hard to find Christmas tree lots in the city, from Home Depot to small, independent lots on street corners. If you want to support Midwestern farmers this season, here are some spots to check out this year to pick out your own locally farmed and freshly picked fir:
Christopher Hohenstein, founder of City Tree Delivery, has been selling Christmas trees for three years, but this season is his first running a physical lot. He’s partnered up with Big Star (1531 N. Damen) to sell trees out of the taco spot’s giant lot, including delivery ($20), set-up ($14.95), pick up and recycling ($24.95). Setting up the Big Star lot to look like a tree forest, City Tree sells Fraser firs and potted Norway spruces, sourced from a farm in Michigan. Most Frasers are between $60 and $120, and the potted trees are $70 to $100. If you choose to buy a fir, it will do more than decorate your home: the company has a particular focus on sustainability. “We are a proud member of 1% for the Planet and do carbon offsets,” Hohenstein told RedEye. City Tree also donates a portion of sales to the Chicago Public Schools.
Big Star isn’t the only Chicago bar in the tree business. Will’s Northwoods Inn (3030 N. Racine), the top Green Bay Packers bar in Chicago, has been selling trees out of their big lot out back for several years. Provided by tree farmer Gary Verhasselt from Antigo, Wisc., the freshly cut Balsam and Fraser firs run from $25 to about $120. The most expensive, a 12-foot-tall Frasier, is $125. For those without a vehicle, they’ll deliver and place it in your living room for as little as $20.
Old Town Gardens (1555 N. Wells) get their Balsams and Frasers from North Carolina and Michigan farms. The tallest Frasers are about $260 for a 10–11 footer, with Balsams about $10–11 less per foot. Because the lot is in the heart of Old Town, many local customers carry the trees home, said Old Town Gardens landscape designer Chris Walsh — a tree up to seven feet can be carried by one person. Old Town Gardens also offers a delivery service: the range is from Diversey to Erie.
Chicago Christmas Tree Lots is the grandfather of Christmas trees sales in Chicago, having delivered around the city for more than 75 years. The company has several lots throughout Chicago, including a spot at Ashland and Addison, in the Vienna Beef parking lot at 2407 N. Elston and, new this year, at the South Loop’s Roosevelt Collection Luxury Lofts (150 W. Roosevelt). While most people carry the firs home with them, there is a delivery option for $25. There’s a huge selection of trees, starting at $20, at all locations — white pine, Balsam fir, Fraser fir, Concolor fir, Canaan fir and spruce — which come from a farm in northern Wisconsin.