The Beginnings of Change

The roots of Shaul Farms are deep in the Schoharie Valley. Though the roots are deep, there are allowances for bend, like a strong tree in a windstorm and so lays the room for change. Change is hard. Change is not easy. This winter has brought Shaul Farms face to face again with change. Change is a good theme word describing this year. Big changes came this time in the form of the decision not to open the Road stand this year. Change has left its mark a number of times over the last 300 years.

In April 1664 after losing his wife Hendrick Meese Vrooman boarded the D’Eendracht(The Concorde) with 5 young children. They would eventually settle in the Dutch community of Schenectady. It was here his family grew and matured into  businessmen. The Schenectady Massacre of February 9, 1690 changed the Vrooman Family as it took Hendrick’ and other family members lives.

Adam Vrooman, Hendrick’s oldest son,  arrived in the colonies at the age of 15. After losing his wife and father in the Schenectady Massacre was rewarded for his fighting courage that night with his life. Two of his sons were captured and sent to Canada. 1698 after traveling to Canada to obtain freedom for his son and one Negro captured during The Schenectady Massacre. Adam recognized the need for land and space as his family grew. Being referred to as an Indian trader. Through his travels he established trading relationships with local tribes in the Schoharie Valley. In turn these relationship rewarded him with land in 1701. In 1708 he petitioned for 1400 acres of fertile valley land near Onistagrawa (Corn Mountain)now known as Vrooman’s Nose.

During the Revolutionary War, the Vrooman Family was tested like so many. The Vroomans, along with other valley farmers supplied grain and cider to the Continental Army. Earning the Schoharie Valley the title of “the Breadbasket of the Revolutionary War”. The Vroomans were respected farmers, premier cider makers and businessmen.

The Civil War again saw the family supplying the Union troops with grain and cider. The cider presses are long gone. Still the tradition of farming continued and evolved for the family. In 1942 returning home from college with his bride, Max Shaul added the Governor Bouck Farm to the Farm. Max and his wife, Eunice continued to work to expand the Farm’s land base to support their growing family. The 1980 through to the present saw Max’s sons take the management reining following their father’s death in 1979.

The present day is owned and managed by David Shaul (Max’s youngest son). He is constantly working to improve the farm’s production and quality of product as well as expanding growing enterprises like garlic.