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Local Christmas tree farmers start season with big loss

By ANNA MEILER

ROME, N.Y. (WKTV) -- The Henderbergs have been selling Christmas trees for thirty years.

"I got into selling Christmas trees 'cause my kids were all little and I didn't have any money. Dairy farming was really bad back then and I didn't have money to buy Christmas presents for the kids," said Gary Henderberg, owner of Henderberg Trees and Wreaths.

They had a good Christmas that first year so they kept their business growing. Gary plants their 14 acres and Janice makes the wreathes.

"It's a joy. It's really a joy to see the kids come and the parents and pick out their trees. It's a happy time for everybody," said Janice Henderberg.

But then came the flood of 2013.

"It was awful to see the rain come every single day. It just didn't stop and it just got discouraging and you didn't want to believe the trees were dying, you know, but when you went out there they had a smell, like dying you know, and it was heartbreaking. It was just so heartbreaking," said Janice Henderberg.

The flood killed nearly 2,000 of the Henderberg's Christmas trees, but they won't let it kill their spirit.

"I guess you just have to know that's what happens in life. You have to face things sometimes and that's what we had to face this year you know, and you go on," she said.

It's a loss that will affect them for several seasons to come. But Gary plans on digging ditches to divert future flood water and planting extra trees.

"You just have to try to make the best of it and the good Lord willing it won't happen again," he said.

The Henderbergs say no matter what, they'll make sure their loyal customers have trees for Christmas.

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