NYC Christmas tree supplier claims Home Depot, Whole Foods selling counterfeit firs

NYC Christmas tree supplier claims Home Depot, Whole Foods selling counterfeit firs


A Christmas Tree lot at The Home Depot, Northeern Blvd., in Queens.
A Christmas Tree lot at The Home Depot, Northeern Blvd., in Queens. J.C. Rice

The fir is flying in federal court!

Evergreen East, a Wisconsin-based Christmas tree cooperative that bills itself as “New York’s finest Christmas tree sellers,” alleges Home Depot, Whole Foods and their supplier conspired last year to scam Big Apple tree buyers by labeling cheaper Canadian Balsam firs as pricey Fraser firs — the Cadillac of conifers, according to court papers.

Frasers are famous for the two-tone color of their needles, dark green on top with a silver underside.

The Manhattan federal court complaint alleges that during the 2019 Christmas season, the retailers “sold potentially hundreds of thousands of Balsam Fir trees which they intentionally mislabeled and falsely advertised as Fraser Fir trees.”

The Frasers are sold on Manhattan sidewalks by Evergreen’s mom-and-pop shop clients for upwards of $179 for a 6-footer and $699 for a 12-footer.

The fugazi firs being sold by the big retailers — which came from North Carolina-based supplier Bottomley Evergreen — start at just $80 for a 6-footer, said Evergreen East president Kevin Hammer, 64.

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The Trailer Parts Outlet

Kevin Hammer shows a Balsam Fir branch (left) from a Home Depot tree compared to his own Fraser Fir trees (right).
Kevin Hammer shows a Balsam Fir branch (left) from a Home Depot tree compared to his own Fraser Fir trees (right). Helayne Seidman
Home Deport Christmas trees in Queens.
Home Deport Christmas trees in Queens. J.C. Rice

The Trailer Parts Outlet

Tree supplier Kevin Hammer of Evergreen East Trees.
Tree supplier Kevin Hammer of Evergreen East Trees. Helayne Seidman


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