Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A wonderful old orchard survives

Beautiful Gould Hill Orchard, which had apparently closed for good as the owners prepared to retire, is again open for business under new management.

Gould Hill, in Hopkinton, New Hampshire, grows many heirloom apples. Efforts by the Leadbeater family to sell the farms to a community trust fell through last June. When their web page went dark, it seemed a sure bet that the 80 acres, with their beautiful view, would be chopped up into lots and developed.

What a loss! Gould Hill has been a farm for more than 225 years. The Leadbeaters have run it for the last 70. In addition to such old apples as Hubardston Nonesuch and Ribston and Cox's Orange Pippin, their Hampshire was discovered there. Kearsage grows only at Gould Hill.

As the Concord Monitor reports, new operators Tim and Amy Bassett have leased the property and begun to remodel the barn. Other improvements are planned, and, as a bonus (to everyone I hope) the Leadbeaters remain involved with the farm.

According to New England Cable News, the plan had been in the works since April.

The new web site, with more information, rebrands Gould Hill a little as "Gould Hill Farm." Heck, the Bassetts also twitter (facebook, too)--they seem to be knee-deep in peaches this week.

The farm's quirky nature museum, though affected by remodeling, remains open.

I haven't visited Gould Hill this year to see the changes in person, but I join many grateful apple lovers in wishing the Bassetts, and the Leadbeaters, good fortune.


  1. I picked there many seasons in the seventies, and I'm glad to hear the place will stay an orchard. There was a venerable Winter Banana tree over by the house, and a Blue Pearmain by the bunkhouse. I loved the Wealthies when they were left to ripen, and at the end of one year I got to pick the whole row of Wageners, which were not memorable to eat but were the sweetest little trees, vertical and narrow like a pear, with a smallish fruit, irregular, and nice in the hands.
    (I stumbled on this blog because I'm getting set to paint some portraits of apples, and had found Orleans Reinette and Ribston Pippins in the coop. Thanks for all the information!)

  2. Gould Hill is still going strong and, while they have added cider donuts (really, REALLY yummy ones), there are still no corn mazes or hayrides that I have seen! The new folks seem to be doing a really nice job, and the Leadbeaters are still around to help them along.
    And they are still knee-deep in peaches as of this weekend. :-)

  3. I am glad to know it. Some places just do not need the corn-maze bling. Really must get up there this fall.


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