Harvest & Sell Balsam Fir Boughs

Whether you are making balsam wreaths or selling balsam fir boughs, the holiday season is the perfect time to get started on this side hustle or gift giving activity.

By Jack Kulpa
Updated on August 16, 2023
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by AdobeStock/sonyachny

Whether you are making balsam wreaths or selling balsam fir boughs, the holiday season is the perfect time to get started on this side hustle or gift giving activity.

You can actually pick your way to a degree of financial independence by collecting boughs of balsam fir (Abies balsamea). It’s an enterprise that allows you to be your own boss . . . requires no special tools . . . and is so easy the whole family can pitch in. Best of all, when the picking is done with care, the trees aren’t damaged . . . so a homesteader can turn a grove of evergreens into a renewable source of income.

COLLECTING AND SELLING PINE BOUGHS FOR DECORATIONS

This is how the business works: In the fall of the year, roughly from late September through early December, firms that manufacture Christmas wreaths are in the market for fresh, green balsam boughs. And since (in my experience) the demand for this product always seems to outweigh the supply, you’ll likely be able to sell all the branches that you can collect . . . provided you make the proper contacts before you head for the woods.

Here in northern Wisconsin, entire families take to the forest each fall, devoting every hour of daylight to the balsam harvest. Some groups make several thousand dollars during an average ten-week picking season, and a few old hands actually earn their entire annual income in this way.

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