ASHE COUNTY, N.C. — A North Carolina grower will be sending a Christmas tree to the White House this year.
Russel Estes has been growing Christmas trees in Ashe County for many years. He was a golf course superintendent when an employee came in and asked if he wanted their extra Christmas trees. That one decision changes his life forever.
"I had no earthly idea that my life would have taken this path of growing Christmas trees, you really don't think about things like that," Estes said.
Estes is now the co-owner of Peak Farms with his son. The family business has become a staple in the area. He says they are now a million-dollar-plus grower.
"I could have not come from a poorer family. I put myself through college. I had wonderful parents. We had no means. They were both factory workers," Estes said.
People from all over the country went to Peak Farms as part of the North Carolina Christmas Tree Association's farm tours. After a week of looking at farms and judging trees from across the country, the Estes' tree was picked to go to the White House.
"The heart rate is really beating right now. We're excited," Estes said.
That is not the first time a tree from their farm was given the ultimate honor. The family will now have their tree in the White House three times and once in the vice president's house.
"We went with the Bushes, the Obamas, and the last time we went we got to go to a wonderful party with Vice President Pence and his wife," Estes said.