LOCAL

Goats eating Christmas trees? Yep, it's a thing.

Tina Locurto
York Dispatch

Christmastime can often be a mad rush of families purchasing trees to decorate.

But, inevitably, some go unsold and are left behind. So, after the holiday season, where do unused Christmas trees go?

York County-based tree farm Strathmeyer Christmas Trees has an answer.

Tony Strathmeyer, of Strathmeyer Christmas Trees, works at the York State Fairgrounds location in West Manchester Township, Sunday, Nov. 20, 2022.  Dawn J. Sagert photo

"Believe it or not, goats actually like eating the trees," said owner Gerry Strathmeyer. "Between giving them to goats and turning trees into mulch, are pretty much what happens to them."

After the holiday season tree sales, Strathmeyer Christmas Trees ships off a majority of trees to a facility off-site who recycles trees into mulch.

Additionally, Strathmeyer said he keeps in contact with local goat farmers who are happy to come by the York Fairgrounds and pick up unsold trees for their own use.

Santana Bland, left, and Jordan Voorhees, both of York City, shop for a Christmas tree from Strathmeyer Christmas Trees at York State Fairgrounds in West Manchester Township, Sunday, Nov. 20, 2022.  Dawn J. Sagert photo

"People will show up, I guess the word gets out among them," Strathmeyer said.

For York County residents who are looking to get rid of their tree — and pet some goats in the process — Dauphin County-based Batz Farm will gladly take them off your hands.

Goats will eat the entire tree: sappy bark, prickly pines and all, according to Batz Farm co-owner Kim Batz.

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"The needles actually have antioxidants, vitamin c and minerals, so that's really important because they're always eating off the ground," Batz said. "It's just fun to see them munching on them."

People who are looking at an alternative when getting rid of their tree can visit the East Hanover Township farm, located at 45 Bullfrog Road.

"It just helps them, since they're outside all year, to get a little extra nutrients to keep them healthy through the winter," Batz said.

Interested individuals can drop off a tree any time to the East Hanover Township farm, located at 45 Bullfrog Road. Batz and her husband, Mike, set up a wagon at the bottom of the driveway that anybody can throw their tree into.

Batz Farm, which primarily focuses on beef and pork production, also dabbles in goat entertainment: Baby goat cuddling sessions and goat yoga, for example, generate a lot of buzz for animal lovers, Batz said.

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Like Strathmeyer Christmas Trees, Batz Farm also uses trees to produce wood chips and fertilizer.

Though the holiday season might be the busiest season for Strathmeyer and his team, the work never stops.

Interested individuals can drop off a tree any time to the East Hanover Township farm, located at 45 Bullfrog Road. Batz and her husband, Mike, set up a wagon at the bottom of the driveway that anybody can throw their tree into.

Through the rest of winter and ahead of spring, Strathmeyer will primarily focus on preparing and cleaning equipment ahead of the planting season.

By spring, the farm will be prepared to plant 50,000 new trees, he said.

"Basically it's getting ready for spring planting, fertilizing and all that harvesting," Strathmeyer said.