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WV tree headed to DC for vice president’s holiday

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Photo courtesy of Anne Taylor. Dan Taylor accepts the National Christmas Tree and Wreath Contest reserve champion award. Photo courtesy of Anne Taylor. Dan Taylor accepts the National Christmas Tree and Wreath Contest reserve champion award.
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By MARLA PISCIOTTA

For The State Journal

The Dan and Bryan Trees tree farm in Shepherdstown has been chosen to supply a 12-foot Fraser fir tree for Christmas at the home of vice president Joe Biden.

Dan and Bryan Trees was selected July 26 by a panel of growers, consumers and industry experts as theNational Christmas Tree and Wreath Contest 2014 reserve champion.

The tree farm finished among 12 finalists in a two-day competition that took place in Allegan, which is in southwestern Michigan.

Dan and Anne Taylor own the 55-acre tree farm planted with Fraser and Douglas fir trees.

“We are excited,” Anne Taylor said. “This is a new experience for us.”

Anne Taylor said she and her husband were a part of the adventure to the White House in 2009 when Eric and Gloria Sundback, another pair of Shepherdstown tree growers, won grand champion. The win marked the fourth for the Sundbacks.

“We wouldn’t be where we are today without the Sundbacks,” Anne Taylor said. “Eric taught us everything we know. We took over the farm when Eric retired in 2009.”

Anne Taylor said Eric Sundback was an amazing mentor.

The Taylors grow only two trees consistently: Douglas and Fraser fir.

Dan Taylor made the drive to Michigan in a pickup truck, transporting an 8-foot Fraser fir grown on the farm for the contest.

“He put the tree up for the contest,” Anne Taylor said. “Next morning (we) found out we’d won reserve grand champion, accepted the award and headed back to West Virginia.”

Anne Taylor said the couple had not yet been contacted by the White House on protocol regarding the tree for the vice president.

“I believe someone will come to the farm and pick out which tree they want,” she said. “That will probably happen sometime in November.”

The Taylors planted their first trees in 1997. Since then, they have won Maryland grand champion for a Fraser fir and West Virginia grand champion for a Douglas fir, both in 2013.

“It takes about eight years to where you can sell trees,” Anne Taylor said. “They grow about a foot a year. We have sold some 5- and 6-foot trees.”

The couple has three tree lot locations: Shepherdstown; Chevy Chase, Maryland and Washington, D.C.

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