Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas Tree Tradition in Tres Marias

I have never been a big fan of the Christmas tree. Don't get me wrong, I love Christmas and decorating my house fully for the season, but the tree has never been high on my list. I don't like the fake trees and I feel bad about buying a real tree that has been trucked in from who-knows-where. My husband convinced me that there were local trees that you cut yourself that support some worthy rural areas that are trying to create sustainable businesses that are good for the environment. I also have two young boys and would like to create a tradition with them of going to get the tree and decorating it.

In Mexico, the cutting of a tree is serious business. All trees are federally protected. If you do not have an official permit to cut a tree you can be pulled over for violating federal law. In Morelos, my husband found one of only two state-designated Christmas tree farms. This one was located close to Tres Marias in the mountains.

We gave a call to Fidelina Vasquez the propietor of the farm and met her in the intersection of the old highway to Mexico City that crossects the road to Huitzilac. She joined us in our car to guide us to where the trees are. She brought her handsaw, twine, machete and a very charming disposition. We had a wonderful conversation about her farm and the type of trees that she grows. She struck me as a very hard working and entrepreneurial person. The boys were very excited as we travailed the dirt road up in the mountains. She explained to us that the variety that she has is a native one called ayacahuite and is very renewable variety. Fidelina had been taking classes on how to care for the trees, grow them, and how to re-grow them not only from seedlings but also from the stump that is left after it is cut.

We selected our tree and wrapped it in twine. Fidelina told us that it takes about 5-8 years for the tree to be Christmas tree size from a sapling. However, the stump will usually grow two "new" trees which cuts the growth time by 2-3 years.

After bunding up the tree, my husband pulled the tree to the car and we loaded up the family. We took Fidelina back to her home and she gave us a special factura or receipt saying that this was an authorized tree cut.

The drive back from the tree field was very picturesque with the drying stacks of hay.

Here is our finished product at home at La Villa Bonita. It is a very charming tree. Not your usual Christmas tree. For those of you in southern Mexico City, Cuernavaca or Tepoztlan it is an easy drive to pick out your Christmas tree next year and you will be supporting the local economy as well as a very hard-working and entrepreneurial woman. Fidelina Vazquez Tel: 01(739)393-0267.

1 comment:

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