Canadian tea on July 1 menu at Cowichan Valley’s Teafarm

Victor Vesely and Margit Nellemann are celebrating July 1 by releasing their first estate-grown Canadian tea.

Why not share a sip of tea history this Canada Day?

Victor Vesely and Margit Nellemann, who dared to turn their North Cowichan acreage into Canada’s only working tea farm, are celebrating July 1 by releasing their first estate-grown Canadian tea.

After years of hopeful work at Teafarm, Vesely is excited about it.

“The tradition of tea is closely tied to place: the region, the mountain, the slope. This tea is an authentic expression of the land, soil and climate of our farm. It is the beginning of a Canadian terroir of tea,” he said.

Teafarm is an 11-acre organic farm, teashop and gallery, located on Richards Trail.

As its owners have worked towards presenting home-grown tea, they have been importing and selling premium organic and biodynamic loose teas from around the world, as well as creating artful tea blends, and ceramic teaware.

The dream of a Canadian-grown tea began as an experiment in 2010 when they planted 200 Camellia sinensis seedlings on the south-facing slopes of the farm. The young plants survived the first deep freeze of winter, and have since thrived in the local climate. Another 400 plants were added in 2014 and 200 more in 2015.

After six years of work and waiting, it’s now time for “Tree Frog Green – Spring Harvest,” a premium green tea made from the leaves and buds of the first spring flush.

In recognition of this unique and historic offering, this initial release will be sold in limited edition commemorative clay containers hand built by Nellemann, a ceramic artist.

“There is an intimate relationship between tea and the cups and pots it is served in that spans thousands of years,” she explained. “These vessels are true collector’s pieces to celebrate the occasion.”

Festivities will continue July 1, 2 and 3 at the farm.