“Home is where the farm is,” will soon become a common turn of phrase in the area of Chelsea, Quebec.
The unveiling of the newest phase of Hendrick Farm will marry the best parts of agricultural heritage to modern living in new townhouses open for viewing this Saturday, November 12.
“There aren’t many places in the world where you can live 15 minutes from the heart of a capital city and come home to sit on your porch and look across acres of farm,” said Sean McAdam, the president of LANDLAB who spearheaded the Hendrick Farm project.
Just a hop away from downtown Ottawa, the Gatineau foothills municipality is already a top destination for recreation and relaxation. It’s where residents enjoy an abundance of food producers and beautiful scenery, and the Farm’s conservation development project plans to add to that selection.
“A long time ago, as I started working on this, I asked Vince and Gert Hendrick what they would like to see happen to their farm. ”
McAdam struck a deal to carefully develop the land and spent a couple more years asking residents of Chelsea what they wanted to see in the surrounding area.
“In 2011 we re-established the organic farm,” he said. “We wanted to make sure we could preserve what the Hendricks had fostered for several decades.”
McAdam made it clear he wanted the 107 acres of farmland to stay true to the couple’s way of life. The developed area for housing and select businesses that fit the vibe of the village will only ever take up 40 acres, while the rest will remain natural forest and trails.
Noon on Nov. 12 marks a milestone at the Farm, as an open house catered by Thyme & Again will invite the rural-curious to explore the White Model townhouses. Starting at $458,000, the 24 townhouses will be the only units to face the five-acre farm; other properties will look out onto the village or the woods.
Hendrick Farm is a singular experiment in land development, a project that McAdam started in 2004 and navigated through significant zoning changes and well-engineered landscaping to make possible.
“We wanted something that protected the land,” said McAdam, “and there’s an increasing desire in Chelsea to have local services, restaurants, and recreational activities. This stays true to that.”
A Farm Stand in the barn is open for visitors to come buy any of the 80 varieties of vegetables grown on the farm. They also supply several local restaurants, including Les Fougères, and run a community support agriculture (CSA) box program.
Each 1,600-square-foot townhouse comes with a porch in the front, a detached garage in the back, and three bedrooms (or two bedrooms with a loft). The design of each house, indoor and outdoor, is “village-appropriate” — most luxury furnishings are real wood and the countertops are granite. The community hub will also feature commercial buildings that will intersperse the homes with cafés, restaurants, and other suitable businesses.
One per cent of all house sales directly support the not-for-profit Hendrick Farm Foundation. Separate from the housing development, the Foundation runs the organic farm and maintains all the green spaces for residents and visitors alike.
It’s an experiment that’s already succeeded: with the bounty of fresh produce right outside your door, from ‘farm to table’ takes on a whole new meaning.