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Welcome to the agrihood

Willowsford’s 300-acre farm makes it the quintessential farm-to-table community

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Print this page by Paula C. Squires

At Willowsford, residents know where their food comes from. Some of it is grown on a 300-acre farm that’s integrated into the 4,000-acre community in southern Loudoun County.

Willowsford Farm grows more than 100 varieties of vegetables, herbs, fruits and flowers. The farm also supports chickens. Eggs and produce are available for residents to buy through a CSA (community supported agriculture) program and at a community Farm Market.

Mark Trostle, an executive vice president for Willowsford, calls the development an “agrihood.” It flowed naturally, he says, from the large tract of rolling land, its location in a rural part of the county and a desire for low density.  Two thousand acres, including the farm, have been set aside for open space in a conservancy.

“It’s only been done a few places,” notes Trostle, of the agri-community model.

The idea, he says, “was to bring people to a place that would connect them with nature, with where their food came from and with the outdoors again, because so much of suburbia is kind of sterile.”

Willowsford began development in 2010. So far, 700 homes — priced from the mid-$600,000s to $1.5 million — have been built. The community offers amenities such as pools, a clubhouse, a lake, treehouses for the kids and 40 miles of trails.  But it’s the farm focus that sets it apart. There’s a culinary director on site who runs a demonstration kitchen with cooking classes.  Residents and their families also can pick fruits and vegetables from a local garden.

Living down on the farm is an old idea, but this 21st-century version is garnering attention and awards.

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