If you’ve ever imagined living on a farm: waking every morning to see the sun rise; breathe deeply of fresh, grass-scented air; pluck apples off trees, and breakfast on eggs liberated from a happy, noisy chicken, then Fox Hill might be a dream come true.
This 44-acre development in Franktown, just south of Parker in Douglas County, features 92 home sites as well as a working farm. Paige McLaughlin lives there with her husband, and they have both a personal and professional connection to the property: Her husband grew up there. “His family lived on-site for 35 years and used it as a working hay farm and quarter-horse facility,” she says. His parents eventually sold, and when the current owners chose to take advantage of the in-place planning and zoning for development, they contacted McLaughlin, a Realtor, to market the project. “Needless to say, we live and breathe this community. We’re deeply committed to its success.”
As people have been both working and schooling from home over the past year, McLaughlin says they’ve seen buyer interest skyrocket. She highlights the community’s 1G fiber optic internet service as well as an easy commute to the Tech Center, but the real draw is the farm-to-table lifestyle.
The annual hay harvest has continued since the ’80s, when McLaughlin’s in-laws bought the land, and will do so into the future, even when all homesites are sold. In addition to the farm, there is a state-of-the-art English greenhouse for year-round fresh produce.
The greenhouse is outfitted with a self-contained aquaponic system. Tanks of tilapia are raised from babies, fed a non-GMO fish food, and produce nutrient-rich waste—nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium—that is circulated under the plant beds in the greenhouse. “The roots of the produce actually grow directly into the water,” says McLaughlin.
This same water is used for the orchards and traditional row garden. Farm manager Anthony Zamora nurtures seedlings, starting early in the year to plant when the weather permits. “We have everything growing this year from lavender to pumpkin, every squash variety that you can imagine, berries, our fruit orchard, hops, beets, lettuces, kale, garlic, tomatoes, artichokes, asparagus,” says McLaughlin. Residents can opt in to a program and have the latest harvest delivered to the doorsteps weekly, and others can stop by the farm stand and buy what they need, from produce to eggs, to fresh fish (see preceding paragraph).
If you want to get your hands dirty, the farm manager welcomes help with the harvest. In fact, Fox Hill held a hops-harvesting party at the end of August last year. Residents could bring a picnic and listen to music, and at the end of the day take home a bag of hops to try their hand at home brewing. Any unsold product goes to local breweries.
Joining you in making your home at Fox Hill are about 80 free-range chickens. “The eggs are incredible,” McLaughlin says. “All different colors that you can imagine. The yolk, when you crack them open, they’re like an orange. It’s just amazing the freshness and the difference in flavor.”
There are piglets and goats, longhorn cattle, and heritage turkeys scheduled to arrive in the coming months to be plumped in time for Thanksgiving. For example, when it’s time for a beef share distribution, Zamora will contact the residents, and they order through him. Any that’s left is sold at the farm stand.
Did we mention the 40,000 bees? “We have honey that is produced onsite and seasonally available for purchase,” says McLaughlin. “And then the bees help with the pollination of our farm, and it goes with the whole ecology and sustainability of the farm.”
“We’re just so thankful to offer these homes and homesites for the first true farm-to-table community,” she says. “We have such easy access to major city essentials, like Parker and Castle Rock and the DTC, yet we’re a way to get away from the hustle and the bustle. It’s the perfect balance. You have a little bit of space, you have the technology available, you have food out your back door, and a community that really supports each other.”
Wellness Within Your Walls
Every home at Fox Hill is unique. Buyers can choose from a selection of preferred builders or go their own way. One home and its builder, however, stand out.
For this project, the first of its kind in Colorado, Nick Nettleton, vice president of Nicholas Custom Homes, was introduced to Jillian Pritchard Cooke, founder of Wellness Within Your Walls, a certifying organization similar to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design or LEED, focused, as the name suggests, on healthier lifestyles from the ground up. “We were already doing a lot of little things that were involved in the program,” says Nettleton. “So we decided that it was a great idea to take it another step and get certified. The biggest thing it means to us is knowing we’re providing a healthy living environment for our homeowner.”
When building with wellness in mind, the details matter. “It’s the paint, the type of mastic you’re using with your tile, your grout, the type of finishes you’re putting on your hardwood floors, staying away from synthetic carpets and using things that aren’t highly processed or manufactured,” says Nettleton.
He adds that Nicholas Custom Homes plans to wellness certify every home it builds going forward. “We looked at this not only as an opportunity to improve ourselves, because we’re always looking for ways to improve our product and the way we do business, but as a big benefit to the long-term owner of the home. We want to make sure they are healthy and prosper in their new house.”