The Preservation Orchard: Arbor Day Farm’s Legacy

Heirloom Apple from Arbor Day Farm:

Heirloom Apple from Arbor Day Farm:
Claygate Pearmain

We’re all familiar with the apples readily available in the supermarket and at local orchards this time of year: red delicious, gala, granny smith, jonathans. But what about the lesser-known varieties that have—for one reason or another—fallen out of the spotlight?

The Preservation Orchard at Arbor Day Farm in Nebraska City, Nebraska, is full of these obscure apple varieties — 65 varieties, to be precise — some of them dating as far back as the 1500s. Some have interesting back stories that rival their appearance and flavor, while others just simply fell out of favor. Unlike today’s common apple varieties, which are bred for beauty and to withstand the rigors of modern food transportation and storage, these vintage apples are a sensitive, finicky lot — with delicate skins and flesh, a short window of ripeness, and the heirloom apple trees themselves often times have not survived the gradual changes in climate where they once thrived.

Heirloom Apples from Arbor Day Farm: Arkansas Black.

Heirloom Apple from Arbor Day Farm: Arkansas Black.

Not only is this very special orchard at Arbor Day Farm focused on preserving the unique apples of yesteryear, but it’s a living record of some of the finest known apples and a genetic repository that may one day help create varieties well-suited to a changing climate. The Preservation Orchard is one of just a handful of orchards in the United States where these rare heirloom apple varieties can still be found.

A visit to Arbor Day Farm this time of year — when a plethora of apple varieties are ripe and ready for picking — offers visitors the rare opportunity to taste the wonderful flavor of some of these old varieties. Heirloom apple tasting is a huge hit with visitors on fall weekends, as Nature Interpreters first show-and-tell about the Preservation Orchard itself, then slice and serve the rare fruits of its branches.

A few antique apple varieties worth noting:

  • Almata: red to the core, and not much more. This apple with reddish flesh has an interesting look but is not particularly flavorful.
  • Claygate Pearmain: common in Victorian-era gardens, this heirloom apple has a nutty aroma and a potato-like appearance.
  • Kandil Sinap: tall and cylindrical, this vintage apple originated in Turkey in the early 1800s. Crisp and juicy with a sweet and sour flavor.
  • Arkansas Black – a medium-sized apple from the 1840s. Glossy, dark red skin almost turns black when stored.

This apple season, be sure to visit Arbor Day Farm’s Preservation Orchard for a unique look at — and perhaps even a taste of — the apples of yesteryear.

Applejack Festival in Nebraska City: A Preview

Aerial view of Applejack Festival, Nebraska City, Nebraska. Image courtesy Nebraska City Tourism & Commerce.

Aerial view of Applejack Festival, Nebraska City, Nebraska. Image courtesy Nebraska City Tourism & Commerce.

Nebraska City, Nebraska, could be best known as the birthplace of Arbor Day — the tree planter’s holiday, first founded here in 1872 by renown resident J. Sterling Morton. Arbor Day is the community’s first and foremost celebration, and certainly the one with the most lasting of legacies.

But 140+ years later, another Nebraska City festival has picked up steam in a big way — the annual Applejack Festival, a community-wide celebration of an abundant apple harvest that attracts several thousand visitors to pick apples, sip cider, and otherwise enjoy a classic fall season getaway.

Sept. 18-20, 2015, marks the 47th annual Applejack Festival, and we invite you to join us at Arbor Day Farm for all the fun.

A few highlights of the weekend festival include:

Friday, Sept. 18:

Paul Phillips plays live music at the Apple House Market.

Paul Phillips plays live music at the Apple House Market, Arbor Day Farm.

6-9pm at Arbor Day Farm’s Apple House Market:
Live music from Paul Phillips; food & drinks available for purchase. Open late for extended shopping.

Saturday, Sept. 19:
9am-7pm at Arbor Day Farm Tree Adventure:
apple orchards open for you-pick; Discovery Rides departing hourly (10am-5pm); corn maze, face painting, bubble making, hike the trails and the 50-foot high tree house; hayrack shuttle service to various points of interest at Arbor Day Farm. Food trucks will be onsite serving your favorite foods.

9am-6pm at Arbor Day Farm’s Historic Barns:
Craft Show, featuring 40+ booths of hand-crafted items. Food available for purchase.

9am-7pm at Arbor Day Farm’s Apple House Market:
shop for apples by the bag or box; caramel apples, apple pies, fresh-pressed cider; Arbor Day Farm wine tasting.

The mansion at Arbor Lodge State Historical Park

The mansion at Arbor Lodge State Historical Park

9am-7pm at Arbor Lodge State Historical Park:
tour the historic mansion and carriage house; Model A car display.

Sunday, Sept. 20:
9am-7pm at the Tree Adventure:
apple orchards open for you-pick; Discovery Rides departing hourly (10am-5pm); corn maze, face painting, bubble making, hike the trails and the 50-foot high treehouse; hayrack shuttle service to various points of interest at Arbor Day Farm. Food trucks will be onsite serving your favorite foods.

9am-5pm at Arbor Day Farm’s Historic Barns:
Craft Show, featuring 40+ booths of hand-crafted items. Food available for purchase.

Orchard-fresh apples are ready for purchase at Arbor Day Farm's Apple House Market, Nebraska City, Nebraska.

Orchard-fresh apples are ready for purchase at Arbor Day Farm’s Apple House Market, Nebraska City, Nebraska.

9am-7pm at Arbor Day Farm’s Apple House Market: shop for apples by the bag or box; caramel apples, apple pies, fresh-pressed cider; Arbor Day Farm wine tasting.

9am-7pm at Arbor Lodge State Historical Park:
tour the historic mansion and carriage house.

Download the Applejack Schedule in PDF form here, or check out how the entire Nebraska City community is celebrating Applejack here, which includes a parade, car shows, plenty of apples, multiple craft shows and more.

Hoping to stay overnight at the all-new Lied Lodge at Arbor Day Farm? Rooms sell out quickly in the fall season, but please call our Reservations line to check the latest availability: 800-546-5433.

We look forward to welcoming you to Arbor Day Farm this weekend — and all fall season.

Mississippi Celebrates Arbor Day in February

ArborWhile the national Arbor Day observance is celebrated on the last Friday in April, many states have implemented state-recognized Arbor Days that reflect the best time for planting in their region. Celebrating Arbor Day helps educate the public about the value of trees. With Mississippi observing Arbor Day the second Friday in February, we take a look at how some of its Tree City USA communities are celebrating the tradition.

Biloxi, MS—a recognized Tree City USA community for 30 years— observes Arbor Day with annual 5K,1 mile and-1/4 mile charity runs, jogs, walks and rolls hosted by the City of Biloxi, Disability Connection, and Gulf Coast Running Club. The Arbor Day run is one of the city’s largest events, drawing an estimated 800 participants this year.

biloxi arbor day runThe proceeds from the run help programs that support individuals with disabilities. Following the race, participants receive trees for planting at home in honor of Arbor Day. Combining nature with a philanthropic cause is a unique way to celebrate Arbor Day.

There will also be a number of tree giveaways throughout the state. Residents in Pascagoula can stop by Scranton Nature Center to pick up a tree. Certified arborists will be on site to answer questions. Tree species include chinquapin, catalpa, mayhaw, live oak, and baldcypress, to name a few. If you’re in Gulfport you can visit Lyman Community Center for a tree.

How do you celebrate Arbor Day?  Please tell us in the comments section below.

Florida and Louisiana Celebrate Arbor Day in January

ArborWhile the National Arbor Day observance is celebrated on the last Friday in April, many states and municipalities have implemented state or locally recognized Arbor Days that reflect the best time for planting in their region.  Florida and Louisiana celebrate Arbor Day the third Friday in January.

Florida

naples zooNaples has been designated a Tree City USA community for 17 years and Growth Award recipient seven times. Naples Zoo celebrated Arbor Day with a day of tree-related activities for the whole family including tree climbing demonstrations in Rainforest Grove. Partners from local organizations shared information about the value of trees and the best native tree selections for planting in the region. Davey Tree was also on hand to answer all tree care questions.

Winter Haven—a designated Tree City USA community for 21 years and Growth Award recipient six times— will hold a tree give away at Central Park. The event will include tree planting and maintenance demonstrations.

Louisiana

lsu agcenterCovington has been designated a Tree City USA community for 21 years and Growth Award recipient four times. Partnered with Keep Covington Beautiful, the city will celebrate Arbor Day with their traditional annual tree give-away at the Covington Farmers Market on January 17th. A variety of native bare-root seedlings will be available including buttonbush, mayhaw, chickasaw plum, and baldcypress.

Baton Rouge— a designated Tree City USA community for 20 years and Growth Award recipient five times— has numerous celebrations throughout the city, including family fun at the LSU AgCenter Botanic Gardens at Burden. The Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry and the Burden Horticulture Society are partnering up to host the Arbor Day celebration. Attendees can meet Smokey Bear and participate in a scavenger hunt in the woods, or watch lumber jack demonstrations in the arboretum. Additionally, attendees will be able to take home a tree for planting.

South Carolina Celebrates Arbor Day in December

South Carolina Celebrates Arbor Day in December

ArborWhile the National Arbor Day observance is celebrated on the last Friday in April, many states and municipalities have implemented state or locally recognized Arbor Days that reflect the best time for planting in their region.  One such state is South Carolina, which celebrates Arbor Day the first Friday in December.

Columbia

Columbia has received Tree City USA designation for 35 years. In addition, the University of South Carolina has been designated a Tree Campus USA for five years.

The State Forestry Commission and ArborGlen invite residents to visit the education center at Harbison State Forest for a day of hiking and presentations on wildlife. Attendees will also learn about fighting forest fires and have the opportunity to plant a longleaf pine seedling in the forest. ArborGlen is donating more than 75,000 seedlings to the College of Charleston Foundation to support forest conservation and restoration at Dixie Plantation near Charleston.red maple

Myrtle Beach

Myrtle Beach has received Tree City USA designation for 18 years and has been awarded the Tree City USA Growth Award four times.

The city celebrated Arbor Day on Monday with a ceremonial planting at Grand Strand Medical Center in honor of the hospital’s former CEO Doug White. A red maple was planted in the lawn between the surgical wing and cardiac recovery area.

Hawaii and Texas Celebrate Arbor Day in November

ArborWhile the National Arbor Day observance is celebrated on the last Friday in April, many states and municipalities have implemented state or locally recognized Arbor Days that reflect the best time for planting in their region. Hawaii and Texas celebrate Arbor Day the first Friday of November, which this year is Friday, November 7.

Hawaii

Maui—a designated Tree City USA community for 37 years—will celebrate Arbor Day cyanea superba hawaii treewith a tree giveaway. Maui Nui Botanical Gardens will be hosting the 11th annual 1,000 Hawaiian Trees giveaway. The event is sponsored by the County of Maui Department of Water Supply, Kaulunani Urban and Community Forestry Program, Maui Electric, and Maui Nui Botanical Gardens. The tree giveaway will offer free demonstrations on proper tree care and water-saving techniques.

Honolulu —a designated Tree City USA community for 33 years and Growth Award recipient for two years—will celebrate Arbor Day with a tree planting and giveaway. Hawaiian Electric and its partners will give away 2,700 trees and shrubs at six locations, including Honolulu.

Texas

Forth Worth—a designated a Tree City USA community for 35 years and Growth Award recipient for 14 years—will celebrate Arbor Day with a tree presentation about Lake Worth, celebrating the lake’s anniversary. The presentation will cover the history of the lake and stories about the lake and its surroundings.tree sappling tx

San Antonio— a designated a Tree City USA community for 24 years—will celebrate Arbor Day at Eisenhower Park with a tree-K fun run followed by a ceremonial tree planting, tree demonstrations and information booths. Attendees will be able to leave with a free tree seedling. The event is sponsored by the Alamo Forest Partnership, City of San Antonio Parks and Recreation department, and City of San Antonio Animal Care Services Department.

Seattle Celebrates Arbor Day in October

While the National Arbor Day observance is celebrated on the last Friday in April, many states and municipalities have implemented state or locally recognized Arbor Days that reflect the best time for planting in their region.  One such city is Seattle, which celebrates Arbor Day in October.

Seattle ArborDaySeattle has received Tree City USA designation for 28 years, and has been awarded the Tree City USA Growth Award 17 times.

Seattle residents are invited to join urban foresters in a tree planting on Saturday, October 18. Volunteers will plant 13 street trees in selected planting strips. The tree planting will bring urban foresters from five departments of the City of Seattle together: Seattle Department of Transportation, Seattle City Light—also a recognized Tree Line USA, Seattle Parks and Recreation, Seattle Public Utilities, and the Office of sustainability and Environment.

Seattle has a strong urban forestry program; you can read up on the city’s achievements in our #TreeCityUSATuesday blog feature.

Top 10 Ways to Celebrate Arbor Day

The simple act of planting a tree will have a positive impact for generations to come. In the words of J. Sterling Morton, founder of Arbor Day, “Other holidays repose upon the past, Arbor Day proposes for the future.” Here are 10 ideas of how you can celebrate Arbor Day:

17_Fruit_saplings[1]Have a game night with tree trivia, winner gets a tree seedling

Hold a picnic in a park, or take a nature hike

Learn your state tree

Invite friends over for a movie nightIMG_4700[1] and watch a film that features trees with pumpkin spice cupcakes (or some spice derived from trees)

Send an Arbor Day e-card to friends & family

Bake an Arbor Day inspired dish (or whole meal) using spices and other ingredients produced entirely by trees

9512239-large[1]Sign up to a neighborhood recycling program or find a recycling center and pledge to recycle paper and cardboard

Upcycle your tree clippings, there are other ways to use them in addition to your garden

Collect leaves, put tempera paint on DSC_7859[1]them and make leaf prints

Buy a What Tree Is That pocket field guide and see how many trees you can identify in your neighborhood

Tennessee and North Carolina Celebrate Arbor Day in March

Arbor While the National Arbor Day observance is celebrated on the last Friday in April, many states have implemented state-recognized Arbor Days that reflect the best time for planting in their region.

Tennessee and North Carolina share more than just a border, they both celebrate Arbor Day the first Friday of March. We take a look back at how some of their Tree City USA communities have observed the tradition.

North Carolina

Charlotte—A recognized Tree City USA community for 34 years—observed Arbor Day with city officials planting two oak trees in a local park in honor of the retiring president of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Housing Partnership.

Greensboro—A recognized Tree City USA community for 23 years and Growth Award recipient for eight years—observed Arbor Day with a tree planting commemorating the 45th anniversary of Greensboro Beautiful. arbor20day.jpgGreensboro Beautiful is a nonprofit volunteer organization with the mission to conserve and enhance the beauty and ecology of the Greensboro community through public and private cooperation.

More than 150 volunteers gathered to plant 45 trees across various parts of downtown Greensboro. Each tree was tagged to show the positive financial impact it has on the environment duing the next 15 years.

Tennessee

Nashville—A recognized Tree City USA community for 18 years—commemorated Arbor Day with a memorial tree dedication in honor of four city officials. The city also acknowledged National Electric Service for its fifth year of being designated as a Tree Line USA utility company.nashville

Knoxville—A recognized Tree City USA community for 23 years and Growth Award recipient for five years—was granted the opportunity to host the state’s official Arbor Day celebration last year because its tree board was recognized as the state’s Tree Board of the Year in 2012. The celebration included an Arbor Day skit performed by local students.

Knoxville earned the state award for its work in completing the city’s first tree inventory and management plan for public property. The city plants about 350 new trees every year in addition to the thousands it currently manages.

If you’re interested in catching a glimpse of either state’s tree canopy, you might consider hiking the Appalachian Trail, where several miles of terrain fall along the North Carolina-Tennessee Border. Visitors can take in the miles of Oaks, Maples, and Firs that adorn the region.

Georgia Celebrates Arbor Day in February

ArborWhile the national Arbor Day observance is celebrated on the last Friday in April, many states have implemented state-recognized Arbor Days that reflect the best time for planting in their region. Georgia is one of three states to celebrate Arbor Day in February, observing the tradition the third Friday of the month. We take a look back at how two of Georgia’s Tree City USA communities celebrated Arbor Day.

Atlanta—a Tree City USA for 27 consecutive years and five time Growth Award recipient—8701310439_80987c8ab5_z[1]observed Arbor Day with a weekend of tree plantings along the East Side Trail in Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic District of the Atlanta Beltline, a sustainable redevelopment project that will provide a network of public parks, multi-use trails, and transit along a historic 22-mile railroad strip connecting 45 neighborhoods. City arborists lead project teams that planted 314 trees.

The trees will help to establish the Atlanta Beltline as one of the world’s longest linear arboretums. The city made it a priority to include parks and trails in the redevelopment.

The City of Macon—a Tree City USA for 28 consecutive years and 15 time Growth Award recipient— organized a tree planting in the Pleasant Hill Community Garden. Jsow4.AuSt.71[1]The community garden provides fresh vegetables to seniors and physically challenged residents, and has produced an astonishing 4,000 pounds of organic vegetables in its nine year existence, including collard greens, cucumbers, and sweet potatoes. Community organizers had been hoping to plant fruit trees in the garden for years, and as a result of last year’s tree planting, members can now partake in the bounty provided by 30 different kinds of fruit and nut-bearing trees.

The community garden, which is maintained by local area youth, helps to educate the public on the importance of nutritious eating, and the effort required to preserve such spaces.

Georgia is setting a fine example of how cities can implement environmental stewardship within their communities through proactive planning. Atlanta and Macon each found ways to bring the public together for the common good. Trees have a phenomenal way of bringing people together, and helping to build community.