Romagnoli contributes here, abroad
Each year, Dewey Romagnoli and his Christmas trees bring a little happiness to those less fortunate. Since he opened his 80-acre tree farm on Oneida Valley Road in 2001, Romagnoli has donated two trees to the Share a Caring Christmas program, sponsored by WMCR Radio and Nye Automotive. The trees are decorated and given to families who otherwise wouldn't have one.
Another program Romagnoli is involved in is through Christmas Tree Farmers Association of New York Inc., an organization he's a member of. Last year, tree farms in New York donated hundreds of trees that were shipped to military bases and families. This year's goal is to ship 300 trees, Romagnoli said.
"Trees are taken to pick-up points and the military comes and picks up all the trees donated," he said.
The state program collects trees for the National Christmas Tree Association. The NCTA and its Christmas Spirit Foundation has teamed up with FedEx Corp for the third annual Trees for Troops program. Last year Trees for Troops collected and donated more than 11,000 trees, which were sent to military troops throughout the United States and abroad.
"Some trees make it to bases in Iraq and Afghanistan," Romagnoli said. "Some go to families of service men and women deployed."
Romagnoli's humble beginnings as a tree farmer began in 1994 when he planted 1,000 trees of five varieties. For the next few years, each spring he would plant around 500 trees.
"All the trees were planted by hand," Romagnoli said. "I had a little help but I planted most of them myself."
By 2001, the first crop of trees was ready to be harvested and Romagnoli opened Oneida Valley Acres in Canastota.
The farm offers Scotch pine, white and blue spruce and balsam and Canaan firs. The farm is open Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to dark for shoppers who would like the opportunity to take a wagon ride out to the fields to select and cut their own tree. Pre-cuts are sold anytime, Romagnoli said. There is a bailer on the premises. The Romagnolis also make and sell holiday wreaths.