River Bluffs Community

Life on the Farm at River Bluffs

“There’s just something about playing an intimate role in producing the food you eat,” Douglass said. “Crop rotation and farming in general is a much more intricate process than you might think. And, I think it changes the way you look at food when you get to experience it.”

Farms are rarely spotted on planned community amenities lists, but when they are, they change the game completely.

River Bluffs, just outside of Wilmington, NC, is anything but a typical planned community. While many developments begin with clear-cutting, and acquiring as much property as possible to account for expansion, River Bluffs has meticulously built 100 homes in and around at least one third of the hardwoods that originally covered the Bluff’s 300 acres, 40 feet above the Cape Fear River. The land was acquired in 2006, and River Bluffs has since become an ideal model for conscious and slow, preservation-based development.

River Bluffs Garden Vegetables“This is a special piece of land,” said John Lennon, River Bluffs’ Director of Operations. “Working this development into its natural setting was the developer’s vision all along. And, the farm and weekly farmers market was a logical part of this plan.”

And, the development of the farm and market was as methodical and meticulous as every other aspect of this development. But, it would appear that the fourth time is the charm.

Stephan Douglass, a fifth generation farmer and owner of Turner Farms, is the fourth farmer to cultivate nearly three acres just across the bridge from River Bluffs. Douglass, his son Ian, and Ian’s girlfriend, Jessica Allison, work on the farm daily.

“This is exactly the situation we envisioned,” Lennon said. “With Stephen’s help, we’ve finally arrived at a good model.”

Turner Family Farms leases the land at River Bluffs in order to grow closer to town. Additional crops are grown at the Family Farm in Teachey. All produce grown at River Bluffs is used to fill CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) boxes, tables at the weekly River Bluffs Farmers Market, and in the kitchen at Porches Café with Chef Erin Wiley.

And, it’s the method to Douglass’ agricultural madness that makes all of this possible.
“It’s an intensive crop rotation divided into 100×100 plots,” Douglass said. “Our goal is to farm as sustainably and organically as possible, and to have something producing year round.” And, indeed they do.

River Bluffs Community GardensWhile there are 20 sectioned garden plots on the back acre for residents to tend, community garden-style, a farming signup and schedule are in the works as well to afford residents more opportunities to get their hands dirty and be a part of what is produced here.

“There’s just something about playing an intimate role in producing the food you eat,” Douglass said. “Crop rotation and farming in general is a much more intricate process than you might think. And, I think it changes the way you look at food when you get to experience it.”

Having access to your own private farm, Lennon said, is apparently a pretty popular amenity. “The fact that we have a working farm and community garden is a real head-turner for folks,” he said. “At Ideal-LIVING Shows, we get the biggest and best response when we tell them about the farm.”

Because, Lennon said, who doesn’t want to live in a place surrounded by trees, on the water, with all necessary amenities, and have access to a working, sustainable farm that produces the contents of a nifty little box delivered to their doorstep every week? His guess would be, not too many.

riverbluffslivings.com

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River Bluffs

River Bluffs

Located just 10 minutes north of Downtown Wilmington, NC (by boat or car) sits River Bluffs, overlooking the North East Cape Fear River. Residents enjoy a serene community where they live and play. Together, residents and the neighborhood's developers have established over 30 clubs. The clubs include boating, kayaking, dancing & more! Read More...


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