By Theresa D. McClellan
Fort Bend Star Correspondent
After spending a couple hours Saturday at the neighborhood grand opening festival, friends and neighbors Anita Hunt-Nelson and Holli Walker made a return trip Sunday to bask in their decision to buy homes in Harvest Green, Houston’s first farm and garden focused community in Fort Bend County’s master-planned community.
Hailing from Chicago and Ohio, the two friends relaxed on the promenade near the stage as their family sought out treats from nearby food trucks and the Spasmatics band expertly played Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir.”
“This is so exciting. We had to come back today earlier, we didn’t want to miss anything,” said Hunt-Nelson who said she and her family built a home three years ago and downsized and built a 1.5-story home in Harvest Green.
“It’s a Johnson Development and we know what they do,” said Hunt-Nelson.
“This will be healthy living for our children,” piped in Walker, who closes in April on her family’s Harvest Green home.
Parents echoed that theme of safety and healthy living throughout the different sections of the 300-acre park Sunday as they visited the 11 model homes, watched their young ones interact with baby animals in the petting zoo or sampled healthy treats in the food tent from area chefs and food entrepreneurs.
“This is our audience. This is why we’re here,” said food entrepreneur Courtney Spiwak who was selling signature grapeseed oils under the tent. She said Johnson Development paid them to be present to get residents and future residents comfortable to the idea and ease of healthy cooking.
With an on-site farmers market, a planned farm-to-table restaurant and acres of greenbelts and open space, the homes priced from the $260s to the millions and the two-day open house attracted plenty of attention.
Groups of children waited eagerly inside and outside the small gates to interact with the animals such as Gizmo, the wide-eyed silver Lemur who perched atop the shoulder of animal guide Taylor Stayton as youngsters stroked its fur. Baby deer, curled up in a corner, seemed unfazed by the tiny feet rushing past or the children crouched down to feed and pet baby goats in the nearby stall.
Jennifer Bausch of Meadows Place was excited about the “family atmosphere” provided, the emphasis on fresh and local grown food and the chance to see new model homes. Her youngsters were happy about the animals and the bouncing tents.
“I got to touch bunnies and chickens,” said her young daughter.
“We had 2,000 people on Saturday and it’s even bigger today, “ said event planner Lynda Winne.
She said they used overhead drones to determine the number of visitors. By Sunday afternoon, she was declaring the event a success since she knew of at least two builders who signed contracts for a new home. Cars and trucks continuously poured into the new Richmond neighborhood off Grand Parkway 99 and West Airport Boulevard. Golf carts and trolley cars shuttled visitors who parked beyond the Oyster Creek bridge and didn’t want to make the trek.
The 1,300-acre community, which is Houston’s first “agrihood,” will eventually feature up to 2,000 homes, more than 300 acres of farmland and several amenities including a farm-to-table restaurant, greenhouse, a grove of fruit trees, a nursery, farm stand and community gardens.
The community is anchored by a four-acre village farm and education center allowing residents to attend classes and events and lease plots to grow their own food. Home builders include D.R. Horton, Darling, David Weekley, Highland, Lennar, Meritage, Newmark,Plantation, Perry, Trendmaker and Westin Homes.
Travis High School, James Bowie Middle School and Harvest Green’s future on-site elementary school will be connected by walking paths to the Village Farm where classroom space will be available for courses in agriculture.
The Village Farm will also host weekly farmers’ markets open to residents and the public, according to their website.
For more information, visit www.harvestgreentexas.com.