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Valley Journal Advertiser - 2021-07-20

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Beausoleil Farmstead offers unique experience

BUSINESS

KIRK STARRATT VALLEY JOURNAL-ADVERTISER kirk.starratt@saltwire.com

Whether enjoying the farm stay accommodation or one of the vinous ciders, Beausoleil Farmstead is all about unique experiences. Owners Melanie and Jake Eelman bought the 21-acre property, located at 1469B Church St. in Port Williams, in 2017. “Part of our approach here is to really provide a farmto-glass sort of experience and really to reintroduce and reconnect people with where your produce and your wine comes from, and to tell that story,” Jake said. He pointed out that they’ve also partnered with a couple of tour companies to help bring more people in. Formerly a hobby horse farm, they converted the north side of what was a fivestall horse barn into a farm stay accommodation, while the south side was converted into a winery, cidery and boutique. The building is surrounded by Chardonnay grapes and the property offers a panoramic view of the Annapolis Valley floor and North Mountain. While they are each concentrating on different areas of the business, they’re also helping each other out along the way. Jake, who is employed full-time with the federal government, has ownership of the eight-acre vineyard while Melanie owns the accommodation, ciderywinery and boutique. Their two sons, 15-yearold Samuel and 12-year-old Oliver, have also become very involved in the management and maintenance of the vineyard. Melanie said new challenges relating to balancing work, school and home life arose with the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic, as did new opportunities to focus on developing their small, family-run business. They forged ahead with the opening of the tourist accommodation in June 2020, just as Nova Scotia’s first pandemic lockdown ended. “Thankfully, we’re very fortunate in Nova Scotia to have fared so well in the pandemic as we have,” Melanie said. “Nova Scotians really took that staycation to heart and I think a lot of people rediscovered the Valley.” As pointed out by Jake, the opening of the Atlantic bubble was a big help. Melanie said they were booked for the entire summer of 2020. Although they currently have one suite to accommodate visitors, a development agreement with the County of Kings allows for two and they may add another in the future. FRESH TAKE ON CIDER, WINE Melanie said a stay at Beausoleil is all about the experience, an escape to the country with all the modern amenities. Those who stay at the farmstead receive a complimentary tour, product tasting and a bottle of Beausoleil to enjoy. Melanie, formerly the head cider maker with the Annapolis Cider Company, wanted to try something unique, blending wines and ciders to create what are known as vinous ciders. She said the more they’ve delved into it, the more passionate they’ve become about it. “Nova Scotia is really at the forefront of a really exciting movement as a wine region, and the cideries have really taken off,” Melanie said. “We really feel that something else that Nova Scotia can excel at is these cider and wine blends.” She said the Annapolis Valley is well known for its beautiful, aromatic apple varieties that work well in cider

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