Contributing Writers: Giuseppe, Jose, Melianty, Mirna, Andrea | Edited By: Theresa Coates Ellis | Images: CCN —
Who would have thought? One of the highlights of a new luxury neighborhood is a working farm. Willowsford is not just your ordinary farmland and pasture, it is a unique community of four villages where agriculture, history, nature, recreation, fine living and land stewardship connect with impressive single-family homes. This concept in community-living is one of the few “agrihoods” in the country.
The Tenant House is one of the information centers at Willowsford, located next to the Sycamore House, a community hub spot. Both buildings have repurposed stone and wood found at the historical sites located on the property. A charming red bike with a market basket decorates the front lawn of the Tenant House providing a comforting feeling.
Laura Cole, Vice President of Marketing, welcomes guests with a virtual tour of the Willowsford displayed on a huge touch screen built into a solid wood table.
Cole said, “Willowsford opened in 2011. The community has 4,000 acres and is divided into north and south amenities. Half of the land will be for homes. The other half is reserved for nature and parks, including 300 acres reserved for farms.”
Willowsford offers educational material, workshops and programs to their residence. Their magazine, “Inspired,” has beautiful photos and stories showcasing Willowsford and the surrounding area. Their newsletter, “FARMFARE Connection,” has Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) tips on weekly crops such as the all-time favorite — tomatoes. Mike Snow, Director of Farm Operations, offers information on farm news and healthy eating. Chef Bonnie Moore, Culinary Director, suggests delicious Romesco Sauce recipe from the weekly harvest.
Having a farm in the community allows CSA shareholders to pick up their local food at their farm stand. Residents have the opportunity to use fresh fruits, vegetables, eggs, poultry and honey from their beehives, in their cooking. The dedicated farmers work from morning to evening to make this happen.
Willowsford wanted a community with a healthy-living environment. Residence that live in Willowsford enjoy the farm and believe it is great to choose their own fresh foods grown in their agrihood.
The gourmet kitchen in the Sycamore House has been the scene for visiting celebrity Chef Bryan Voltaggio. The great rooms with local sycamore and poplar hardwood features were transformed into a 5-star restaurant setting with fresh food available from Willowsford Farm.
Chef Bonnie also offers cooking classes for residents with the freshest ingredients from the farm.
Another special amenity at Willowsford is the farm stand opened in 2012. It is a gathering place for the residents. The farm stand provides healthy food including vegetables and fruits all year round. Favorite produce includes peaches, corn, and juicy, sweet cherry tomatoes called “candy in the farm.” There were dozens of flowers, eggplants, and berry bushes growing in the gardens.
Deb Dramby, Market Manager and Education Coordinator, said, “I had a mission to integrate goats into Willowsford.”
She succeeded. The farm located behind the farm stand is home to the goats – nature’s lawn mowers producing natural fertilizer. Mike Snow keeps an eye on the busy weed eaters as he maintains the farm growing favorite crops in a natural landscape bursting with color. Bella, the farm dog, keeps an eye on the hens playing hide and seek in the bushes. Baby chicks are safe guarded in the barn housing the farm equipment.
Butterflies and bees are plentiful at Willowsford as they flutter and buzz around the flowering fields of delicate Queen Anne ’s Lace surrounding the fence.
Willowsford Farm is just a part of this living experience. The community is building an exclusive collection of 15 award-winning home designs. The Willowsford home builders include Arcadia, Beazer Homes, Camberley Homes, Integrity Homes, K Hovnanian Homes, Mitchell and Best, and Line K.
Amenities and gathering spaces are scattered throughout the four villages called The Grange, The Grant, The Grove and The Greens. Parks for families and dogs, trails, pools, tree houses, a camp site, the Conservancy and The Lodge at Willow Lake are favorite areas at Willowford.
Willowsford believes that food brings a community together and stewardship cultivates a sense of place. A concept that is new today, but a memory of simple times from past neighborhoods. A shared farm and garden(s) could be an added quality of life value to any community that has land space.