The Van Vorst family has farmed just south of Saratoga Springs for more than 200 years. “You don’t see that too often, but we don’t shout about it all the time,” says Andrew Van Vorst. He now runs the operation with his daughter, Emma, the tenth generation, who is raising her own two children on the farm. “I was always so proud of how old the farm was and all the people that came before me,” Emma says. “My biggest reward is getting to wake up and work in a barn my great-grandfather built and milk cows my grandfather bred. My goal is to preserve the land that has been passed down in our family.”
As if Emma isn’t busy enough, she also raises eggs and makes highly sought-after jams like cranberry-apple and ginger-pear, which she sells from the farm, through a couple stores and at the local farmers’ market. The Van Vorsts also raise some Angus beef and crop more than 200 acres of animal feed with no additional employees, although Andrew’s dad, an active 80-something, still helps out. Like his father, Andrew doesn’t see retiring. “I don’t know if I’d like Florida,” he jokes.
Andrew watches his two grandchildren grow and looks to the future. “We have to make it interesting for the next generation to take over. There are so many things luring them away,” he says. “Emma has to feel this is where she can make a good living and have a good life.” According to Emma, there’s no question about that: “My husband and I enjoy watching our kids spend each day learning and exploring on the farm. Really my job in the long run will be encouraging my children to love this life as much as I do and hopefully they will want to become a part of our long family history.”