Crystal Spring Tree Farm

crystal springs tree farm feature photo

Planting and harvesting Christmas trees takes years of patience. As a grower, you need a crystal ball to predict the type of tree that will be popular when the crop matures 7 to 10 years later. Aptly, Crystal Spring Tree Farm in Lehighton is as well-named as it is mature.

Here, where 15 varieties of trees are grown, it’s Christmas every day where Chris Botek and crew spend the holiday season catering to customers. “If not for Christmas, we’d be in trouble,” Chris says.

Located in the scenic Mahoning Valley, Crystal Spring has been selected to provide trees for some of the most prominent venues in the country—25 times for the state Capitol Building, twice for New York City’s Rockefeller Center, and 5 times for the Blue Room in The White House.

Since 1966, the process used to select the White House Christmas tree involves first competing and winning at the state level. For consideration, champion tree growers must then go on to compete and win nationally.

Crystal Spring won their first national title in 2006 in Portland, Oregon and then again in 2010 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina—each time at the National Christmas Tree Growers Association annual meeting. Although it’s tough enough to win Pennsylvania (at the Farm Show in January), we’re committed to growing quality trees and the winning tradition, Chris says.

Growers compete with a 6- to 8-foot tree, but the one subsequently chosen for the White House must measure exactly 18 feet, 6 inches because a chandelier in the Blue Room lights the tree from the top down. A White House delegation arrives in early October to make the selection, and it typically includes a groundskeeper, the head of the White House’s decorating committee, and the chief usher—the individual who handles the president’s day-to-day, minute-to-minute schedule.

When your tree is selected, it essentially becomes a donation in exchange for publicity: Chris reaped the benefits of a 2006 appearance on The Martha Stewart Show, and in 2009 the movie “Branches” was filmed at Crystal Spring.

crystal springs tree farm photos

From Washington, D.C. to Connecticut, Crystal Spring sells about 15,000 trees. Chris works with a tree broker and high-quality garden centers. He also grows and sells evergreens for the landscape industry.

With wholesale, retail, and ‘choose-and-cut services’, our regular customers are very important. “All those trees in all those homes Christmas morning are the epicenter of our business,” he says.

Chris’ parents, Margaret and Francis Botek, who had a family meat market and grocery store in Lansford since the late 1930s, started the tree farm in 1964. His grandfather, Stephen Botek, first dabbled with trees, selling them outside the storefront, then eventually buying two acres on Route 443 to plant Scotch Pine.

Later came several expansions. The first on 25 acres of the existing home farm that recently added pumpkin production and a pick-your-own patch. Francis planted Douglas Fir and more Scotch Pine, though keeping the grocery store as well until 1984.

Chris first showed interest in tree growing as a youngster. In 1995, he returned from Penn State with a bachelor’s degree in plant science and the family began leasing more land for woodlots. Today the operation is pushing 250 acres of production.

“Aside from being a National Champion Grower, we have the largest selection of trees in Eastern PA”, Chris proudly states. “Although we put very long hours in to grow exceptional trees and make customers happy, the work is very rewarding”, he ends.

Consumers ‘in the know’ go to Crystal Spring to celebrate the season and pick a great tree for their homes. Beyond the White House, customers often have a hard time choosing amid the substantial selection. Ultimately, everyone leaves with one and returns year after year to continue the tradition.

Call 570-818-4198 or visit to learn more.

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