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168-year-old Peterboro Basket Co. in NH closing, citing forest pest

PETERBOROUGH, N.H. — A 168-year-old company in New Hampshire known for its handwoven, hardwood baskets is closing its factory and stopping production, partly because of an insect pest that has been destroying ash trees.

The Peterboro Basket Company has been in business since 1854.

The company said in a recent announcement that the baskets "are principally made of U.S.-grown Appalachian White Ash, the same wood used in ax handles and baseball bats.

"For some years the Emerald Ash Borer beetle has reduced the availability of the wood used to make the baskets," it said.  

Left Side View of an Emerald Ash Borer
The emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis)  iStockphoto

The emerald ash borer has destroyed tens of millions of trees in the U.S. and Canada. Back in 2017, Somerville took preemptive action to cut down more than 150 trees in anticipation of the beetle's arrival.

The company said other extreme labor shortages, ongoing supply chain issues, and owners who are "ready to retire," are among the other considerations in deciding to close.

The factory plans to produce its last basket this summer or fall

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