Imagine a family farm where crops had been grown for years in their fields.  Then a developer comes in and buys the property in order to build houses on it.  Many of us have seen this happen often where we live.  A farmer sells his fields and new homes or a parking lot with stores rapidly pop up afterward.  Well, this is not exactly what happened in this case.  The family who owned this farmland decided to tweak things a bit.

Now, there was a subdivision that was built on their land, aptly named “Agritopia”.  But 12 acres of land was reserved for the creation of an urban farm.  There is a grove of olive trees and an orchard with citrus, apples, peaches, plums, apricots and blackberries.  Another area of the farm is a large field where vegetables, herbs and flowers are grown.  

In addition, the family’s original home was converted into a restaurant with beautiful surrounding gardens that are open for all to enjoy.

My first stop was to go and see the community organic farm, which grows food for the restaurant and the residents of the surrounding homes can grow their own plot of vegetables, flowers and herbs here as well.



Being the flower lover that I am, my attention was first captured by the beautiful flowers that were blooming among the vegetables.  The flowers attract bees to help pollinate the crops. 



As a new vegetable gardener myself, I was excited to see what they had growing and so I tore myself away from the flowers and stated to explore the beautiful vegetables that were growing.



Aren’t the artichoke heads beautiful?


Many of their vegetables and fruit are available for sale at The Farm Stand.  

As I finished my walk through the vegetable gardens, I decided to look closely at a crop that does grow in Arizona, that may surprise some of you.  It certainly surprised me when I first moved here 24 years ago.



Can you tell what this is?


Did you guess yet?  They are grapevines.  I love how the grapevines line both sides of the pathway.
At this point, I could smell some delicious food in the air and so I turned my attention across the street where the restaurant is located.

As you can see, it is actually an old home that has been converted into a restaurant.



Diners are invited to eat at any of the picnic tables under the shade of the trees.

In front of the main entry to the restaurant, were two absolutely huge Tamarisk trees.


The trees are so tall as you can see and easily dwarf the diners and the restaurant.
I then took a short walk through the gardens, and came up upon the coffee shop.


I particularly like to visit this coffee shop because the eating area is surrounded by roses – my absolutely favorite flower.


The fragrance of the roses was intoxicating.  


If you look carefully, you may find one of the hidden ‘rooms’ in the garden where you can sit and enjoy your coffee.


The smell of delicious food was in the air and I was hungry, but had no time to stop for lunch.  I will never make that mistake again….note to self, when visiting a restaurant’s gardens, make sure to have time to stop for lunch.

On my way out, I saw the beautiful flowers of the Passion Vine and the colorful snapdragons in the distance.


Okay, seriously, I am not getting paid to promote Joe’s Farm and Grill 🙂 But, it is a great place to visit to sit and relax, enjoy good food, kids are free to run around, the gardens are beautiful and the farm is an educational experience as well.
It is one of my favorite places to visit.
**There are still 5 days left to participate in April’s MGB (Monthly Garden Bouquet).  I’d love to see your garden bouquets.
Noelle Johnson, aka, 'AZ Plant Lady' is a horticulturist, certified arborist, and landscape consultant who helps people learn how to create, grow, and maintain beautiful desert gardens that thrive in a hot, dry climate. She does this through her consulting services, her online class Desert Gardening 101, and her monthly membership club, Through the Garden Gate. As she likes to tell desert-dwellers, "Gardening in the desert isn't hard, but it is different."

24 replies
  1. Ami
    Ami says:

    Ooh, I will definetly want to sit there to have coffee surrounded by all the roses and heavenly scent! What a lovely restaurant and garden you have visited! Those two Tamarisk trees are so gorgeous. It must be the favorite place in the summer!

    Reply
  2. The Violet Fern
    The Violet Fern says:

    This is so inspiring and I absolutely LOVE this concept! I would choose to live in such a development. What a beautiful place to reside (and eat)! Let's hope more developers promote beauty and sustainability in living. What a great post – and great pictures of beautiful plants and flowers. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  3. Hocking Hills Gardener
    Hocking Hills Gardener says:

    What a wonderful addition to the neighborhood.Much better than box stores, etc. And a farmers market stand would be wonderful to have nearby. Sounds like they have everything covered and I wish them a prosperity from such an adventuress enterprise.

    Reply
  4. Curbstone Valley Farm
    Curbstone Valley Farm says:

    Oh my goodness…I'd 'eat at Joe's' any day! I wish more cookie-cutter developments would do this. What a wonderful use of the space. The artichokes are amazing, and I love vegetable gardens that incorporate flowers. The grapes…I admit, I am surprised to see them growing so well in Arizona!

    Reply
  5. Meredith
    Meredith says:

    What a delightful discovery, Noelle! I'd heard of suburbs being developed recently that offered a farm-style community, with plots for members and a small working organic farm in the midst of the houses, but I had not actually seen one. This is a lovely concept, and one we need more of — but of course I'd rather we didn't take our desperately needed farmland out of commission to build more unnecessary housing, but rather retrofitted the acreage of suburbia as it stands today. But if they're going to develop anyway, they could do worse than emulate such a thoughtful and beautiful model. 🙂

    Reply
  6. jeansgarden
    jeansgarden says:

    Noelle, This is such a wonderful example of what we can accomplish if we let go of the black/white, either/or thinking that Americans are so enamored of. Instead of do we keep the farm going or sell the land for development, we get a compromise brimming with creativity. Thanks for sharing this. -Jean

    Reply
  7. Kyna
    Kyna says:

    I love the picture of the hollyhocks! 😀 At least I think those are hollyhocks…I haven't seen any in awhile lol. I don't think I've ever seen them growing in this area of NC…

    Reply
  8. Helen at summerhouse
    Helen at summerhouse says:

    Now wouldn't it be something if all suburbs had farms in them. Instead of just acres of lawns and houses? What a concept. Of course, it would just have to be veggies and flowers because manure and suburbs? No I don't think so. Still this is a novel way to do things. No wonder you like to visit.

    Reply
  9. Brad
    Brad says:

    I'm amazed about the farms in the Phoenix area I've learned about on your blog. I wish I'd known about them before. Great suburban planning too to leave some of the farmland as a farm.

    Reply
  10. debsgarden
    debsgarden says:

    The original owners must be pleased with the way things turned out. Keeping some acreage for gardens improves the lifestyle and, no doubt, the property values of the homeowners in the development and is an asset to the whole community. Thanks for the tour. Beautiful!

    Reply
  11. Finley and Oliver
    Finley and Oliver says:

    I almost missed this post! I absolutely love Joe's Farm Grill. We eat there at least once a week as it is so family friendly. The food is amazing and once we are pleasantly full, we love to take a walk around and see what's growing in the garden. Joe Johnston's concept is really fabulous and he is doing great things for our town.

    Reply
  12. Rhonda
    Rhonda says:

    Our family absolutely LOVES Joe's Farm Grill! We take all of our out of town guests there. They have the best sweet potato fries! Thanks for sharing your photos Noelle, makes me want to go there this weekend!

    Reply

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