As you turn onto the long, dusty driveway off West Coast Road in Otter Point, you are struck by the pastoral beauty of the farm. To the right, sheep graze in the fields, chickens can be heard in the distance and flowers everywhere.
Welcome to Tugwell Creek Farm and Meadery.
The farm, owned by Dana LeComte and Bob Liptrot, practices the ancient art of making mead.
Mead, often referred to as honey wine, is created by fermenting honey with water, sometimes with various fruits, spices, grains or hops.
Liptrot has been making mead for more than 35 years, but it’s been only the last dozen years or so when he’s attempted to make it a commercial venture.
His real love is bees – Liptrot is an entymologist. The production of mead just advances Liptrot’s and LeComte’s passion of bees and ecology. The farm has between about 60 to 100 bee hives in any given year.
“The mead is just a really fun thing to do, but everything we do here is possible because of bees. We think the business is a good opportunity to teach people,” LeComte said.
So when Liptrot and LeComte had the chance to join Économusée B.C. Artisans at Work last year they jumped at it.
Économusée helps artisans share authentic hands-on techniques, in-depth traditional knowledge and genuine passion for their craft, creating a living museum.
Each destination is unique – yet all recognize the importance of conserving the heritage of traditional skills, producing authentic, handcrafted products and contributing innovative ideas to the trade, said Économusée project manager Pascale Knoglinger, a Jordan River resident.
“Économusée is about every possible traditional craft you can think of,” Knoglinger said, adding there are more than 70 locations worldwide from Canada to the Denmark.
“It’s a perfect fit for us,” LeComte said. “The education piece was always what we wanted. They just helped us develop it and make it look really professional and amazing.”
Tugwell Creek Farm and Meadery will offer its first Économusée event Sept. 27: a long table lunch and tasting of a new mead.
The event starts with the lunch prepared by Oak Bay Beach Hotel executive chef Robert Budlong. Mead is available with all dishes.
Later in the day, there will be a special release tasting of Tugwell Creek’s mead, which will be introduced to pubs this fall.
“The new mead follows the Celtic tradition of the earliest beers. The Celts didn’t have access to hops until cultivation. What they used was heather. This done with heather and just a little bit of hops. It’s our own recipe but it’s following that tradition,” LeComte said.
“We’ve never done an event like this, so we’re really excited.”
For more information on the event, please go online to tugwellcreekfarm,com.