A Perot Company

Back To The Land

June 26, 2017

Susan Bady

Professional Builder

Harvest: Gardening and Giving Back

Harvest, in Northlake and Argyle, Texas, is built on land that had been farmed for generations to support cattle and crops. The area is still rural in nature, so when Dallas-based Hillwood Communities held a three-day workshop to plan the new community, the agrihood idea was a slam dunk. Hillwood created a true farm, says Angie Mastrocola, senior VP of operations and the general manager.

“We built a five-bay greenhouse and hired a professional farmer, Ross DeOtte, to grow fruits and vegetables for us,” Mastrocola says. “We also grow demonstration crops—okra, tomatoes, lettuce—and when they’re harvested, we bring in a chef who shows residents how to incorporate those ingredients in recipes.” Surplus produce is donated to the North Texas Food Bank.

DeOtte uses the Harvest greenhouses for his private farm operation, where he grows specialty lettuces and vegetables for local restaurants. In return, he manages the Harvest crops and gardens and provides education, classes, and tours for residents and schoolchildren. In addition, there are two large community crop areas that produce sizable harvests in summer and winter, Mastrocola says. Then there are the orchards, which produce apples, figs, pears, pecans, and plums. Residents can rent raised garden beds for $60 to $100 per year to grow their own food under DeOtte’s guidance.

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