Even the earliest travelers noted the promise in the land at Saratoga. The broad, fertile plain, bound by mountains, promised bountiful fruits to those willing to work with the landscape. Saratoga’s rural character is defined in part by the past and present farms and farmers that make up this community.
Saratoga remained largely agricultural following the end of the 18th century with some agricultural use persisting to the present day. The area was described in 1825 by Henry Dilworth Gilpin in A Northern Tour: “Along the river, the alluvial flats are principally a stiff argillaceous loam, and the river hills have the same kind of soil, more or less mixed with sand or gravel. The timber on these lands is oak, hickory, chesnut, & c.; on the loamy plains, beech, maple, ash, elm and butternut; and on the sandy loam, white and yellow pine”.
Farms and farmland remain cornerstones of our community, linking the past to the future through a landscape of fields and pastures, stone walls and weathered barns shaped by generations of hard-working farm families. This landscape, cherished by so many, is often taken for granted. Some of its benefits are obvious-the joy of seeing the foals in the fields in the spring, bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables in the summer and fall months; and milk and dairy products year-round. Other benefits are less obvious-the local revenue and jobs farms provide, the recreational and tourism opportunities they create, the wildlife habitat and other environmental benefits they offer. Some benefits are easily quantified; many are not. The benefit that may be most valued by Saratoga residents is the ephemeral “quality of life” that farms help to provide.
Photo Credit: A late summer sunrise along Cedar Bluff Road in the Town of Saratoga. August, 2015