Trinity Valley tree farm thriving

Trinity Valley Christmas Tree Farm translates land-sharing project into thriving business.

A 20-year success story continues to grow for Trinity Valley Christmas Trees.

Owned by Jim Ilott, the farm provides sustainably farmed, locally grown trees throughout the Okanagan.

In 1993, Ilott approached B.C. Hydro about a stretch of land he discovered in Trinity Valley with beautiful Douglas fir trees growing on it. The trees under the hydro line were thriving and Ilott felt it would be a waste not to make use of the natural crop.

Hydro agreed to a land-sharing project that they already had in place with cattle producers to use hydro lines as summer range. Where Hydro once had to mulch the trees growing on the land, Trinity Valley Christmas Trees has turned it into a revenue stream.

Ilott opened the first retail lot in Vernon, in 1995. A few years later, the company expanded to Kelowna. Today, there are four outlets at the Canadian Tires stores in Kelowna, West Kelowna, Vernon and Penticton.

“This type of farm provides the most sustainable choice for a real tree,” said Ilott, noting no herbicides or pesticides are applied to the crop. “The trees growing on the under-utilized land hold the soil in place and provide habitat for all kinds of wildlife.”

The trees are cultured for several years, which provides local employment. When they are ready for harvest, they are replaced by natural seeding, beginning they cycle again.

Ilott collaborates with other B.C. growers to provide specialty trees.