Tea Farm and Ceramic Arts
8350 Richards Trail, Duncan, BC V9L 6B2
Vancouver Island is known for growing and producing many fine culinary products; wine, lavender, hazelnuts, apples, and hops, to name a few. Tea is not always at the top of the list, though it could be. The unique microclimate in the Cowichan Valley lends itself to cultivating Camellia sinensis– tea plants, which are used to create all different varieties of tea.
“The marriage between tea and ceramics has gone back thousands of years,” Margit Nellemann will tell you as you step into the tea room at Westholme Tea Farm. She and her partner, Victor Vesely, planted 200 tea plants – on the southern-facing slopes of the property in 2010 and hundreds of plants have since followed. In this partnership, Margit creates the ceramics and Victor grows the tea, though there is overlap in many areas of the operation. They both blend tea. They both tell stories. They both speak passionately about the uniquely personal experience of brewing and drinking tea.
Victor and Margit are firm supporters of an intentional, immersive tea service, though the experience at Westholme is not deeply rooted in any one cultural tradition. They point to history as a jumping-off point, honouring some old-school elements of traditional tea services with a modernized approach and exploring new ways to highlight the unique terroir of the Cowichan Valley. Ultimately, this results in a high quality product and a neo-cultural experience with undeniably west coast roots.
The tearoom at Westholme offers an afternoon tea service (tea of your choice with sweet pairings), as well as a full-service shop for teas, brewing accessories, and of course, Margit’s handmade ceramics. Regular hours are Wednesday through Sunday, 11 am to 5 pm.