Warren Abbott, CEO, CFO, and all-around techhead, leads the farm. He graduated from Purdue University in 1987 with a BS in Agricultural Economics burning a hole in his pocket. He always said he went to school for three people (himself, his dad and mom) because they all valued continuing education and new ventures. Warren’s vision was for a profitable grain crop farm joined with a fall U-picking operation that would engage the residential population in Greater Baldwinsville. Over time, his vision for the farm has evolved into a full-season U-pick and entertainment destination for Central New Yorkers.
Windsor Abbott is the fourth generation of Abbotts to farm here. He spearheaded the change from dairy production to crops in 1964. He was the innovative purchaser of welders, front-end loaders, red equipment, and strategic land. He still works 60-hour weeks running equipment, fine-tuning systems, and contributing expertise to projects and decisions.
Nancy Abbott hand-picked Windsor for her husband — in the third grade! He stole the erasers off her pencils; she smiled; and the rest is history. She graduated from Cornell with a Home Economics degree in 1956. She taught school locally for a few years, then opened a roadside stand to sell Abbott apples and potatoes. She started the first school tours on the farm and continues in them to this day. She is our master gardener and groundskeeping designer. And expert cook, and babysitter, and apple-grader, and proofreader, and cheerleader, etc etc etc.
Ellen Yeomans is a published author who teaches writing courses at a local college. Her secret love is taking care of our farm animals, though. She’s been loving on our petting farm gang since 1996, shearing sheep, grooming calves, and sharing her love of animals with schoolchildren on tour. Ellen is the incredible mom behind Paige’s Butterfly Run, Inc., a non-profit corporation that raises money for the battle against pediatric cancer and funds a scholarship at Baker High School in Paige’s name. Check out the full story at this website,http://www.paigesbutterflyrun.org/.
History of Abbott Farms
The Abbott family history can be traced back to the mid 1700’s in England, where Asa Abbott was a soldier during the Revolutionary War. Generations after him traveled to Albany, Clay, and finally settling on a farm on Hicks Rd in Baldwinsville, NY.
1756 Asa Abbott was born in Connecticut; he died in Albany County NY in 1823. He was a soldier in the Revolutionary War.
1783 Asa Abbott Jr. was born in Spencertown, NY. He died in Clay, NY in 1856.
1805 Henry Abbott born in Schoharie County; he died in Clay in 1921.
1828 Asa M. Abbott was born to Henry and his wife Mary.
1840 Henry and his family moved to Morgan Road (in Clay).
1851 Asa M. Abbott married Christina Patrie. They bought a farm on Hicks Rd.
1866 Warren J. Abbott was born in Lysander. He married Anna Dixon in 1890.
1869 The Abbott women grew tired of sleigh rides through mounds of snow piled up on Hicks Road. (Snowdrifts on Hicks Road are still an issue today!) After years of urging, the Abbotts bought a farm on Cold Springs Rd (the current location) to make winter travelling easier. They bought the house from a couple who were moving west.
1903 Homer J. Abbott was born to Warren J. and Anna.
1915 A bad thunderstorm caused a lightening strike to the Abbotts’ main barn. Damage from the ensuing fire caused changes for two brothers who had farmed together, Warren J. and Elmer. Warren J. and his son Homer stayed on the homestead; Elmer bought a farm further west on Rte. 370. This farm later sold to become the housing development now called Abbotts Landing.
1928 Homer married Ilda Rice of Baldwinsville. Homer sold potatoes and cabbage door-to-door in the north side of Syracuse, where the baseball stadium is now. Homer (and later, his son Windsor) also sold produce at the Regional Market.
According to Louella Rice Abbott Oakes, Homer’s second daughter, “Homer showed horses at the NY State Fair until WWII. The Fair was then closed for 2 or 3 years. Homer never showed horses after the War. He did not believe in horse pulls. He showed his horses for their quality and breeding. In competition classes of 40-50 horses, Homer won a 4th place ribbon for ‘Horse Champ.’” Ilda Rice Abbott taught Normal School.
1933 Windsor James Abbott was born to Homer and Ilda.
1956 Windsor married Nancy Hencle. Her parents, Maynard and Mildred Hencle, founded Hencle’s Berry Patch west of Baldwinsville.
1956 Nancy graduated from college and taught Home Economics at Cato-Meridian Central Schools.
1964 Windsor sold the dairy herd to concentrate on grain crops.
1972 Windsor and Nancy built a retail stand to sell farm produce on-site.
1987 Son Warren Windsor Abbott returned home from Purdue University with a B.S. in Agricultural Economics.
1993 Tore out the old orchard to build the Country Store.
2007 Shifted from growing grain crops to u-pick crops, including strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and Christmas trees.
Quoted from an interview in The Post Standard with Warren J. Abbott, 1954:
Mr. Abbott, his son Homer, and his grandson Windsor farm 126 acres near Baldwinsville. The elder Abbott’s father bought the farm when Warren was three years old, a year after the Civil War.
Mr. Abbott sat on the east porch of his home last Thursday and watched his grandson, Windsor, combining wheat in the bottom land.
“There’s a lad who’s quite a hand with tools,” he said. “Clever boy. He’s been in 4-H work for 11 years and he won the Tractor Maintenance Contest this year. “
Mr. Abbott agrees that the modern farm couldn’t do without a tractor, but he doesn’t favor them over horses.
“I hated to see the tractors come and the horses go, but then you can’t get anybody who can drive a team these days,” Mr. Abbott said.
“Remember way back when the first tractor came to these parts,” he went on. “You were doing good if you could plow an acre or an acre and a quarter in a day. Fellow came up with the tractor and said, ‘I won’t say my tractor is better than your horses, but I’d like to show you what it can do.’ Why, he plowed the straightest, prettiest row you ever saw, and he could do five acres in a day.”
Mr. Abbott remembers quite clearly when the salt works (in Syracuse) was in operation, when the old plank road was being used, and when the water rose above the wagon hubs when you crossed the Seneca River bridge in the spring. I used to hitch up the bays and take a Democrat wagon full of potatoes to Syracuse in 50 minutes.”
Mr. Abbott walks with a cane now. Several years ago he chipped a knee cap when he was fixing a hog pen.
“Say, you look familiar to me,” photographer Herm Borzner said. “Didn’t I take a picture of you about 25 years ago sawing a tree?”
“I was going to say you looked familiar to me, too,” Mr. Abbott said. “That was after the big storm. That big tree came down right across the roof of the house. Yes, I remember you now.”
“How long have you subscribed to The Post Standard?” the photographer asked. “Been getting it as long as I’ve been here,” Mr. Abbott said. “I don’t know what Father got before that. The Civil War was going on then.”
**Many thanks to Louella Abbott Oakes and Janice Abbott Bitz for their painstaking research into the family geneology.