November 4th, 2019

South Florida’s first ‘agrihood’ debuts in Arden

Original article by Wendy Rhodes for The Palm Beach Post >

Agrihoods, communities based around farms, are part of a growing trend in the U.S. More than 800 people came out Saturday to the Arden development for the grand opening of its 5-acre farm and community barn.

It was a beautiful day in the “agrihood.”

More than 800 people came out Saturday to the Arden development west of Wellington for the grand opening of its 5-acre farm and community barn.

Part of a growing trend of communities built around farms instead of golf courses, Arden is one of 90 agrihoods in the United States and is the first in South Florida. The “farm-to-table” lifestyle of an agrihood is centered around fresh, local produce, an active lifestyle and a strong sense of community.

The stars at Saturday’s party were husband-and-wife team Tripp and Carmen Eldridge, who run the farm.

The duo offers tours, classes and the opportunity for residents to get their hands dirty while learning first-hand about sustainable agriculture.

Families who buy in Arden’s agrihood share in the farm’s bounty when they receive their free, seasonal allotment of 50 varieties of veggies, 30 kinds of fruits and an array of savory herbs.

Between those times, the General Store, located in the community barn, offers locally grown produce and a variety of natural products for sale.

“Access to the farm and nutrition,” said Russell Kelly about what most intrigues him about the idea of an agrihood. “Nutrition is important for kids.”

Kelly, who recently relocated from New Jersey to Royal Palm Beach with his wife and three children, said his family is considering moving to Arden.

“In a world where people don’t really speak to their neighbors anymore, we need more neighborhood environments,” he said of the welcoming feeling he gets at Arden.

Arden’s location — about 15 minutes west of Wellington Village Hall out Southern Boulevard — doesn’t scare Kelly. In fact, he said it’s part of what makes the area appealing.

“The agricultural theme and the location are great,” he said. “It’s not congested, but it’s close enough to downtown West Palm Beach, restaurants and the airport.”

The 1,209-acre development built by Freehold Communities opened in autumn 2017 and by the time it is completed in about 10 years, will offer 2,000 home lots.

Shuttles took interested party-goers to visit different neighborhoods where they can choose between quick-delivery homes and lots that offer custom homes from three builders.

Ranch and two-story houses range in size from 1,500 square feet to more than 4,000 square feet, ranging in price from the mid-$300,000s to more than $1 million.

The healthy lifestyle community includes miles of walking and biking trails; basketball, tennis and pickleball courts; a lake with rowboats and a pier; a two-level pool with cabanas; picnic areas; and plenty of community gathering spots.

Neighborhood amenities are precisely why Scott and Alexandra Katcher said they chose to build a home at Arden to raise their 2-year-old daughter Nyarah.

“The community and the schools are the best in the county,” said Scott Katcher. “I’ve done my research.”

The Katcher’s home won’t be ready until April. They drove from West Palm Beach to spend the day Saturday partying Arden-style.

“Everywhere we’ve been, everyone has been so nice and welcoming,” he said. “They plan stuff day and night throughout the year for us to do. I mean, they plan stuff in West Palm Beach, too, but there you’re sharing it with 1.5 million people.”

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