Cultivating Harmony

We are a devoted family farm, passionately dedicated to nurturing the land beneath our feet and the community surrounding us. Our commitment runs deep, rooted in the principles of slow, sustainable, ethical, and regenerative agriculture, and we choose not to use chemical pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers in our farming.

We use natural pasture rhythms and rotational grazing to improve soil health and capture carbon to ensure the health of our livestock. This careful management means our animals don’t need medications and live well, reflecting our belief that natural wellness comes from the earth.

Our farm operates on a fundamental principle: by caring for our land and animals, we produce delicious food that benefits our community. This cycle supports the well-being of everyone.

Our Roots

Keating Farm is one of the oldest farms in the Cowichan Valley, British Columbia. It has a rich history and is full of colourful stories. In the late 1800s, the Keating family transformed this land into a grand estate. After Andrew Keating and two of his sons died in the shipwreck of SS Islander in 1901, the property changed hands a few times but remained a working farm for the next century.

The Tews family established the farm as a small dairy and poultry concern in the 1940s, but Hugo Tews was best known for his award-winning grain and potent homebrew. Over the years, the buildings and infrastructure slowly deteriorated, and the once-grand estate became derelict. The Land Conservancy of British Columbia purchased the historic property in 2005 and held it in good faith for eight years in hopes of saving it. But, after a series of organizational and financial issues, they faced the difficult decision of selling it in 2013. After much legal work and a couple of Supreme Court decisions, The Land Conservancy was granted permission to sell the property to us. Since purchasing the property, we have spent the past decade restoring the farm and giving it new life and purpose within the community.

A Labour of Love

Over four years, we dedicated our energy to renovating our farmhouse. This endeavor saw us standing before a 5,000-square-foot testament to the ravages of time. With a structure teetering on the brink of collapse, absent of any solid foundation, and a leaky roof, the challenges were as vast as the building itself.

Within this calamity lay an extraordinary opportunity. Restoring our farmhouse, especially with 150 years of history etched into its beams, is a journey full of unexpected discoveries. Each hidden corner brought surprises that touched our hearts with laughter, tears, and awe.

The path to reclaiming the glory of the historic house demanded every resource. We emerged through a whirlwind of trials and triumphs, guided by a shared commitment to honor the past while forging a new future.

Digging Deep

Similar to the farmhouse, over the years, the farm’s agricultural buildings and infrastructure had slowly deteriorated and became derelict. The buildings, roads, fencing, gates, and utilities were all failed or failing and in desperate need of repair. After completing the farmhouse restoration, we turned our attention to restoring the farm infrastructure and operations. Mind you, we were not farmers prior to purchasing the farm so the learning curve was steep and challenging. We spent the next three years restoring our heritage agricultural buildings, resurfacing roads, replacing fencing, and installing power, water, and drainage systems. In parallel with the work to restore the agricultural infrastructure, we started to farm eggs, chicken, turkey, pork, and lamb. We intentionally focused on reestablishing livestock operations first so that we could employ livestock to clear and restore fertility to the land. We established an apiary and mason bee populations on the property to support pollination of our orchards and crops. And we replanted dozens of fruit trees in and amongst our heritage trees to restore the original orchard footprint which had eroded over the years. Next, we plan to put the vegetable patch back into production, establish a small hop yard, and to convert several acres of hay field back into grain production which the property was known for.

Looking Ahead

We are excited to continue to cultivate our farming and enhance the on-site accommodations that welcome our guests into the heart of Cowichan Valley. In the spirit of innovation that respects our heritage, we’re looking forward to announcing plans to introduce a farm-to-table brewery and cafe (coming 2025.) This new venture will embody our dedication to bringing guests and the community together.

Awards & Publications

Our commitment to heritage conservation and sustainable farming has been recognized through various awards and nominations, underscoring our dedication to preserving the history and promoting the future of agriculture in the Cowichan Valley. Our accolades speak to our passion for creating a farm that’s as much about community and sustainability as it is about the exceptional quality of the produce and the unique experiences we offer.

  • Heritage BC Conservation Award
  • National Trust for Canada Conservation Award
  • Vancouver Island Wedding Awards:
    • Best Indoor Ceremony Venue Winner
    • Best Outdoor Ceremony Venue Winner
    • Best Unique Venue Finalist
    • Best Indoor Reception Finalist
  • Also featured in:
    • Rocky Mountain Bride
    • West Coast Weddings
    • Junebug Weddings
    • Sustainably Wed Season 1 Episode 3