Wandering the Duncan Farmers’ Market in a frenzy to quickly buy my goods and get on with my day, I stumbled upon Teafarm’s booth, with a sign reading “Slow down! Take time for tea”. I am drawn into a fascinating conversation with Teafarm’s Victor Vesely about his journey with his wife, Margit Nellemann, in starting Canada’s first tea farm.
Growing from an appreciation of art and tea, Victor and Margit envisioned Artfarm, a place to share art and tea culture, for the property on Richards Trail that they bought in 2003. They decided to become fully immersed in tea culture in 2010, and planted two terraces of tea plants, Camellia sinensis. In the spring of 2014, they planted two more terraces of tea plants, for a total of approximately 600 plants.
Tea plants require at least five years to mature and develop the unique flavour, or terroir, from the soil and climate of the region in which it grows. So, hopefully in the spring of 2015, Teafarm will produce the first harvest of Canadian tea! For now, the farm is selling tea leaves for culinary use, which is still something for tea lovers to get excited about.
A visit to the farm is a unique and relaxing experience where you can’t help but slow down to take in some art, nature, and tea. Meander through the beautiful gardens to discover herbs, berries, and flowers, used in their unique tea blends. Teafarm offers twenty-three original blends without synthetic flavouring or essences, and sells over 100 non-blended estate teas from around the world. All of Teafarm’s teas are made with Certified Organic ingredients, and can be bought in tins or in bulk. Sit and enjoy a pot of tea with your choice of sweets, cakes, and chocolate truffles, all infused with Teafarm teas.
While at the farm, take time to explore Margit’s stunning clay masterpieces; teapots, functional, and decorative pottery; and other local products to complete your experience. Margit’s hand-built ceramics help to immerse oneself and connect with the culture of tea that goes back thousands of years.
A recent addition to the Lonely Planet travel guide, Teafarm has become a destination for travellers from around the globe. Find the Teafarm teas and culinary tea leaves at the Duncan Farmers’ Market on Saturdays, in various stores and cafés, or visit the TeaFarm Wed-Sun 10:00am to 5:00pm at 8350 Richards Trail.
For large groups, please call ahead for a customized Teafarm experience. For more information or to shop online, visit http://www.teafarm.ca, or call 1-855-748-3811. But first, slow down and have a cup of tea!