A Sweet Visit to a Canadian Tea Farm

October 4, 2017
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A Sweet Visit to Westholme Tea on Vancouver Island. Tea, pottery, sweets on a Canadian tea farm.

Tea, pottery and sweets at Westholme Tea Company on Vancouver Island

Did you know that Canada has a tea farm? When I first read about Westholme Tea Company, I put it on the list of places to visit on my next trip to Vancouver Island. I made it to the farm this spring. It turned out to be a delightful place I’d happily visit again.

Westholme is located in the Cowichan Valley, a scenic area of rolling hills, forests, beaches, and bays, midway between Victoria and Nanaimo. The Valley is home to picturesque villages, lovely country drives, organic farms, artisanal food, and award-winning wineries. And now, also a tea farm.

A Sweet Visit to Westholme Tea on Vancouver Island. Tea, pottery, sweets on a Canadian tea farm.

Tea growing on terraced land

Westholme did not start out as a tea farm. When Victory Vesely and Margit Nellemann bought the land in 2003, they converted the barn into a studio for Margit’s pottery and planted lavender and garlic. Because Margit creates funky teapots and cups, they began holding tea-related events. Eventually tea became their sole focus. They created their own blends of tea sourced from around the world, available for sale to brew at home, or to sip on-site accompanied by tea-inspired sweets. Then they decided to try growing their own tea to add to the selection.

You can read about my visit to Westholme Tea Farm and my conversation with Victor in an article I wrote for TravelWorld International: Tea and Clay on Canada’s First Tea Farm.

Converted barn. A Sweet Visit to Westholme Tea on Vancouver Island. Tea, pottery, sweets on a Canadian tea farm.

The converted barn

Margit Nellemann pottery. A Sweet Visit to Westholme Tea on Vancouver Island. Tea, pottery, sweets on a Canadian tea farm.

Pottery figures adorn the outside of the barn

A Sweet Visit to Westholme Tea on Vancouver Island. Tea, pottery, sweets on a Canadian tea farm.

Inside is bright and welcoming

Victor Vesely. A Sweet Visit to Westholme Tea on Vancouver Island. Tea, pottery, sweets on a Canadian tea farm.

Victor in front of the their home-grown tea

A Sweet Visit to Westholme Tea on Vancouver Island. Tea, pottery, sweets on a Canadian tea farm.

Tea being prepared for me

A Sweet Visit to Westholme Tea on Vancouver Island. Tea, pottery, sweets on a Canadian tea farm.

Sweets to go with the tea: cranberry turtle bars and raw chocolate brownies

A Sweet Visit to Westholme Tea on Vancouver Island. Tea, pottery, sweets on a Canadian tea farm.

More sweets – orange torte

Tea leaf. A Sweet Visit to Westholme Tea on Vancouver Island. Tea, pottery, sweets on a Canadian tea farm.

A tea leaf accompanied one of the sweets

Margit Nellemann pottery.

Pottery gallery

Margit Nelleman pottery. A Sweet Visit to Westholme Tea on Vancouver Island. Tea, pottery, sweets on a Canadian tea farm.

A sampling of Margit’s pottery

Art-filled guestbook. A Sweet Visit to Westholme Tea on Vancouver Island. Tea, pottery, sweets on a Canadian tea farm.

You don’t want to leave without signing the guest book or looking through the beautiful artwork others have done.

Guestbook artwork. A Sweet Visit to Westholme Tea on Vancouver Island. Tea, pottery, sweets on a Canadian tea farm.

Guestbook artwork

Gustbook artwork. A Sweet Visit to Westholme Tea on Vancouver Island. Tea, pottery, sweets on a Canadian tea farm.

Westholme farm, teashop and gallery are open Wednesday to Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm. They are located just outside Westholme, between Duncan and Chemainus. They offer Tea and Garden Experience tours on select days and occasionally have entertainment. Check their website. Read my article about my visit here.

Thanks to Westholme for treating me to tea and sweets and thanks to Victor for taking time to talk with me.

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  • Reply
    Ken Dowell
    October 4, 2017 at 1:35 pm

    I recently visited the Celestial Seasons tea factory in Colorado. That’s a big industrial operation thus lacking the charm of Westholme Tea. What I remember most about it is the smells from walk8ng through the warehouse where all the teas were stored.

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      October 5, 2017 at 1:55 pm

      Ken,
      I can imagine the smells in the warehouse would be quite something!

  • Reply
    Richard Melia
    October 5, 2017 at 1:52 pm

    Not a big tea drinker but I loved the pottery!

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      October 9, 2017 at 6:45 am

      Richard, and the atmosphere?

  • Reply
    RM Griffith
    October 6, 2017 at 11:29 am

    Wonderful to learn about the diverse things in Canada. I didn’t know tea would grow there, but would love to sample some of it!

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      October 9, 2017 at 6:46 am

      Rose Mary, I wouldn’t have tea would grow there either.

  • Reply
    Doreen Pendgracs
    October 12, 2017 at 8:04 pm

    I would love a visit to this tea farm, Donna. It is truly amazing how climate change is making it possible for crops to grow that never previously would have grown in that region. Tge world is changing before our eyes!

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      October 15, 2017 at 8:31 am

      Doreen, it was cool to see a tea farm in Canada!

  • Reply
    Carolina Colborn
    October 13, 2017 at 12:38 pm

    We will be going on a drive in British Columbia next summer, for our 10th wedding anniversary, starting in Victoria. Hope to visit this. Reminds us of the tea farm we visited in Taiwan.

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      October 15, 2017 at 8:32 am

      Carol, I’ve not visited any other tea farms. If you do manage to fit a visit to Westholme into your trip, I’d be interested to hear how you find it compares to the one you visited in Taiwan.

  • Reply
    Carole Terwilliger Meyers
    October 14, 2017 at 6:04 pm

    No, I didn’t know that Canada has a tea farm. I’ve added Westholme Tea Company to my list of places to visit on my next trip to Vancouver Island.

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      October 15, 2017 at 8:33 am

      Carole, I’m sure you’d enjoy a visit to Westholme.

  • Reply
    Marilyn Jones
    October 15, 2017 at 5:22 pm

    I would have never dreamed of a tea farm in Canada! What entrepreneurs to come up with the idea and create this great destination along with their shop. Thank you for sharing!

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      October 18, 2017 at 10:00 am

      Marilyn, I too was surprised to hear about a tea farm in Canada. I had to check it out!

  • Reply
    alison abbott
    October 17, 2017 at 8:24 am

    I had no idea there was a tea farm on Vancouver Island. Everyone is so creative there it doesn’t surprise me at all!

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      October 18, 2017 at 10:01 am

      Alison, Vancouver Island is a great location for the tea farm (a great place in general).

  • Reply
    Anita and Richard @ No Particular Place To Go
    October 17, 2017 at 8:33 am

    I love how you find some out-of-the-way places that are just begging to be discovered, Donna. As a dedicated tea drinker, I can imagine having a lovely hot cup of tea and one of the cranberry turtle bars. Mmmm! Anita

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      October 18, 2017 at 10:02 am

      Anita, it is always fun to discover out-of-the-way treasures. Westholme is a lovely place to linger over a cup of tea and some sweets.

  • Reply
    Agness of e Tramping
    October 31, 2017 at 6:15 pm

    As a passionate lover of tea, this would be an ultimate experience for me! Thanks for bringing this place closer, Donna!

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      November 2, 2017 at 2:37 pm

      Agness, this place is a delight for tea lovers. My husband who isn’t a tea drinker liked it too.

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