Farm + Teashop + Gallery
An 11-acre property in Cowichan valley, British Columbia, is the home to Teafarm, an organic farm dedicated to food, art and growing tea. Here Victor Vesely and Margit Nelleman live out their dreams. Some of those dreams include Margit’s hand thrown clay products and distinctive teapots, as well as tea blending and Canadian grown tea.
Victor shared that the initial planting of 200 Camellia sinensis plants in 2010 was a complete experiment. The first plants were grown from seedlings, sourced through local nurseries and the United States. This spring Margit and Victor expanded their own tea farm to 600 plants with a plan for continue expansion. Their end goal is 2000 tea plants in order to develop a 100% Cowichan Valley Grown Tea.
This is also the first year they harvested their tea plants, selling the leaves for culinary use. The intent is to determine the flavor profile then continue to experiment with a few different processing styles, from an air-dried white or pan-fried oolong to a black tea.
At the Teafarm, guests can experience a Moroccan tea, drinking locally grown fresh spearmint blended with gunpowder green from China. “The reality of tea is that it comes from tea growing regions, and we respect both the quality and the artisan nature of tea,” said Victor. “It’s a balancing act between local and global and we try to give people the taste of both.” They offer their clientele, at what Victor describes as an old school bulk teashop, teas blended without using artificial flavors.
“We all come with different viewscapes and that’s kind of the fun and the challenge. A lot of people like to watch our evolution, and some people call it struggle. It is what it is. It took ten years from when we first planted the plant,” said Victor. “It just really was an idea that now has a taste and flavor, and to see it come close to fruition is really a beautiful thing.”
Note that this article was previously published on Sept 12 2014