The Fraser fir industry began in Jackson County over 50 years ago from the resources of Richland Balsam, where the Beutell family began to harvest wild trees for sale along with seed and small seedlings with which to start their own farming enterprise. Today, 238 growers produce superior quality Fraser fir on 2,300 acres.
Jackson county tree farmers take great pride in practicing the most sound and proven growing practices that ensure sustainability for our industry and the environment. In order to maximize these effects, our farmers practice integrated pest management strategies which reduce the applications of pesticides, preserves beneficial insect populations and preserves the highest soil and water quality. We also encourage natural ground covers such as Dutch white clover which enhances habitat for beneficial insects and many other species of wildlife such as wild turkey, quail, rabbits and deer.
With 45 choose and cut farms, these farmers offer many unique agri-tourism opportunities such as tree mazes, pumpkin patches, elf villages, beautiful vistas and much more. These are in addition to the many natural tourism opportunities offered by the Cherokee Indian Reservation to the north, the town of Dillsboro in the center and Cashiers and Highlands to the south. Laced by many rivers and streams, Jackson County offers world class trout fishing, canoeing and white water rafting.