Bob Jasse believed something worth doing was worth doing right. In 1981, retired from a fast-paced job as a technology executive, he and his wife Susan envisioned a place that they could shape and love, a welcoming retreat for others as well as a place to put down roots. They started Alyson’s Orchard from scratch on 500 beautiful acres of rich glacial soil in the Connecticut River Valley of southwest New Hampshire.
Though Bob Jasse passed away in 2008, his legacy at Alyson’s Orchard lives on in the care of his family and dedicated staff.
Today the 50-acre orchard—luscious with apples, pears, peaches, plums, cherries, grapes and berries—is the centerpiece of a pastoral expanse of woodlands, ponds and trails. A simply elegant reception hall hosts weddings, reunions and other special events. Three lodging accommodations, including an 1860’s farmhouse & rustic lodge, allow up to 36 guests to stay on site.
The orchard is based on innovative high-density, European-style planting, and from the beginning has been committed to Integrated Pest Management (IPM) – a ‘best practices’ approach that primarily relies on cultural practices and the action of beneficial organisms to manage pests. Orchard manager Homer Dunn, a skilled and passionate orchardist, oversees the extensive hand-cultivation, careful pruning and attention to the orchard ecosystem that strengthens trees, keeps pests in check and increases productivity. Irrigation ponds, which recycle water from the orchard, are so pure that trout and other native species thrive in them.
There are over sixty varieties of apples in the orchard, including many heirlooms and regional favorites. In spring, 35 hives of bees are brought in to help wild bees pollinate the 16,000 trees.
Alyson’s Orchard is a tableau of beautiful sights, fragrances and flavors. It is also full of sounds: frogs and songbirds abound, serving as natural predators for orchard insects. Voices of visitors picking fruit or celebrating a special occasion mingle with the sounds of birds, frogs, bees and rustling breezes— audible evidence that the ecosystem is healthy and diverse.
Alyson’s supplies Red Tomato with many varieties of heirloom apples.