Design Plans Revealed for Arbor Day Farm's Apple House Market Renovation After Last Year's Fire


NEBRASKA CITY, Nebraska (June 11, 2021) – Design plans for Arbor Day Farm’s new Apple House Market and adjoining Porter’s barbecue restaurant were revealed to the public Friday. The facility was severely damaged by a fire last September.

Upon completion, the restaurant and retail shop will boast a larger footprint with several new amenities aimed at educating the public about the Arbor Day Foundation’s impact. The new facility is highlighted by an educational viewing room that allows patrons a glimpse into the Arbor Day Foundation’s global operations.

Arbor Day Foundation and Nebraska City officials unveiled the new design plans at a groundbreaking ceremony where the upgraded facility will be located on its existing site at the Arbor Day Farm property.

“Arbor Day Farm is where the Arbor Day Foundation’s mission comes to life,” said Austin Mackrill, vice president of Arbor Day Farm. “So, while the fire last fall was certainly devastating for all involved, it presented us with a unique opportunity to reimagine what the Apple House Market and Porter’s restaurant facility could be.”

The expanded 6,149 square-foot facility will remain at its existing site, and will still be home to both the Apple House Market and the popular Porter’s barbecue restaurant. Many design improvements planned for the facility will educate visitors of the Arbor Day Foundation’s mission to inspire people to plant, nurture and celebrate trees while showcasing how the organization carries that out worldwide.

New viewing room gives visitors a peek at the Foundation’s global impact

The new facility will be highlighted by an educational viewing room in the Apple House Market. The viewing room will help visitors understand the worldwide scope and scale of the Arbor Day Foundation’s work, featuring stories from around the world that demonstrate how the Arbor Day Foundation is transforming communities through their experiences with trees. Depending on the season, the viewing room will provide a direct line of sight for visitors to watch the trees be packaged and prepared for shipment, apples sorted and cider pressed.

A new tasting room with a flavor for education

A new tasting room will become a destination space for learning more about the value trees provide, while allowing individuals and groups to sample products grown locally and around the world in locations where the Arbor Day Foundation is helping communities create economic value through trees. The Foundation’s line of Arbor Day Coffees will be featured along with information about the villages and families that the coffee helps support. Arbor Day Farm wines and other local products that promote the local farming economy will also be promoted.

Additional themed rooms available for groups to gather

In addition to the educational opportunities, the new Apple House Market facility will boast two new meeting rooms for visitors to use. The “Four Seasons Room” will capture the spirit and feel of a country front porch and offer visitors a place to relax, enjoy a meal, meet and visit. It will expand potential seating of Porter’s throughout the year and also be available for private functions or family gatherings. In addition, new retail flex space will create opportunities for special events and seasonal activities.

The facility renovations will be paid for by insurance money from the fire and an additional $1.7 million in private donations. The new space is expected to be ready in early 2022.

About the Arbor Day Foundation

Founded in 1972, the Arbor Day Foundation has grown to become the largest nonprofit membership organization dedicated to planting trees, with more than one million members, supporters and valued partners. Since 1972, more than 400 million Arbor Day Foundation trees have been planted in neighborhoods, communities, cities and forests throughout the world. Our vision is to help others understand and use trees as a solution to many of the global issues we face today, including air quality, water quality, climate change, deforestation, poverty and hunger.

As one of the world's largest operating conservation foundations, the Arbor Day Foundation, through its members, partners and programs, educates and engages stakeholders and communities across the globe to involve themselves in its mission of planting, nurturing and celebrating trees. More information is available at