Rishi Sunak selected a Christmas tree during a visit to one of the biggest growers of festive trees in the North of England.
The Richmond MP called at Croft Christmas Trees on the northern edge of his constituency to see the seasonal operation gear up for the busiest weekend of the festive period.
He selected a Norway Spruce from the thousands that have been felled and prepared for sale on the 85-acre farm just outside Croft village.
He met manager Tim Hall, managing partner Trevor Chaytor-Norris, and some of the 21 seasonal workers taken on for the Christmas tree selling period which lasts five to six weeks.
Mr Sunak said: “This is an amazing family business which, because of its seasonality, everyone involved works incredibly hard during the Christmas period to meet demand.
“The retail operation is impressive but I was also interested in their plans to develop their wholesale trees business, working with other tree growers around the UK.
“Because of the nature of the crop, it requires long-term investment and it is great to see that is being made.”
Mr Hall said because of Covid-19 precautions a timed booking system had been introduced this year to manage the number of customers on the site at any one time. A click and collect system had also been introduced for those who wished to order online and pick up a tree of a particular type and size later.
Croft Christmas Trees was established in the 1980s and today sells up to 5,000 trees in a typical Christmas season to the customers who visit the business at Grange Farm. The majority are grown on the farm.
The Christmas Shop, which sells a huge range of decorations and accessories to create the most stunning festive displays, has also been expanded in recent years.