NEBRASKA CITY – In the midst of 2024 tree plantings at the Home of Arbor Day an apple tree at Arbor Day Farm stands out.

The Smitten apple was first developed in New Zealand and was introduced in Washington state in 2011. Family orchards in Michigan and New York have also received rights to grow the variety, but Arbor Day Farm is the first for its region.

Orchard Manager Ben Heusinkvelt: “We have to be invited into the club to plant these apples. It’s very special that we were sought-after and asked to join.”



Several hundred trees are planted each year at Arbor Day Farm’s  you-pick orchard, where there are 20 different varieties including many found at grocery stores. Arbor Day  Farm’s preservation orchard also has 32 antique varieties.

Heusinkvelt: “The point of the farm it to provide people meaningful experiences and having new and exciting apple varieties only enhances our mission.”

About 100 Smitten trees will be planted this spring as the first within a 500-mile radius. The bio-colored, sweet-tart blend of Gala, Braeburn, Fiesta and Falstaff apples should be available for you-pickers in three years.