Christopher Martin, the state forester, says locally grown trees benefit both the local economy and environment.
The lingering effect of the Great Recession isn't the only challenge for tree farmers and sellers. They grow their trees on plantations instead of chopping them from the forest, planting a new round of seedlings every year to maintain a steady harvest.
Trees for Troops is a program held by the Christmas Spirit Foundation that provides Christmas trees for military families.
"The longer you wait the less selection you have", says Shrake.
"It's just a fun tradition", said Audrey Pope, a returning customer to Grassy Creek Farms.
There are 875 farms upstate that sell more than 300,000 Christmas trees per year.
"About two weeks ago, we finally got the word that the broker that we deal with was going to go to another broker to make sure we had enough trees".
Experts say a tight economy and less demand for real trees have hurt the industry and that buyers should expect higher prices for trees this year. "Don't know what the quality of the tree will be from season to season", Erway said.
"Mother Nature has never treated us better than this year", White said.
"It's nice to have us all together again", Pope said. Because of the lack of sales, growers planted fewer trees.
"We've always had one", she said with a shrug.
And in OR, at least, they have a less labor-intensive, more lucrative alternative option: growing marijuana - an option that will soon be available to California tree farmers as well.
A tight supply could affect the quality, selection and price. Now a Santa Ynez tradition, all Valley residents are welcome, and many outstanding restaurants are open for dinner following the tree lighting.