Tiptree plans for Tea Room re-openings

4th June 2020


From the 17th June we will be reopening the doors to four Tiptree Tea Rooms for takeaway and retail sales only. The locations that will reopen are: Tiptree, Heybridge Basin, Saffron Walden and Chelmsford.


Our opening hours will be 9am – 4pm, although this may be subject to change, details of which will be posted online. Although we will be implementing a smaller takeaway menu, there will be something for everyone to enjoy.


We will of course be adhering to government guidelines on social distancing and safety procedures instore. Following the opening of these four Tiptree Tea Rooms we will review the possibility of further openings and will update our website and social media accordingly with these plans.




Leaving the Batte-Lay

2nd June 2020


Sadly, the company will not be re-opening the Batte-Lay tea room in Colchester following the Covid closure and the company has exercised the break clause within their sub-lease. Scott Goodfellow, joint Managing Director of Wilkin and Sons said, “It is with regret that we have decided to close our Batte-Lay tea room. Whilst the venue itself is beautiful, we have not had the footfall that we had hoped for. We would like to thank all our customers, the Minories Galleries and Colchester Institute for their support during our tenure. We hope that locals and visitors may find their way to one of our other Tea Rooms across Essex once they are able to open.”



New - Tiptree Cocktails in a can!

1st June 2020


Celebrate the Great British Summer with these tasty Tiptree tipples! We’ve blended hand-crafted Tiptree English Gin and Vodka Liqueurs with our favourite sparkling mixers to create three rather delicious Ready To Drink Cocktail Fizz Cans. All in eye-catching striped livery. Choose from Raspberry & Rose, Strawberries & Cream, and Salted Caramel & Apple. Best served chilled, with friends.




10 years since Tiptree and RABI’s garden at Chelsea “The John Joseph Mechi Garden 2010”

1st June 2020


“Strawberries and Champagne”: the theme for the John Joseph Mechi garden at the Chelsea Flower Show in 2010 created huge interest from fruit loving visitors. The garden reflected the times of this innovative Victorian farmer and marked the anniversaries of two amazing organisations The Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RABI) and Tiptree jam.



John Joseph Mechi founded the farming charity The Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RABI) 150 years ago and it continues to help those in need in the farming community. In June 2010 Wilkin & Sons Limited celebrated 125 years of jam making at Tiptree, where fruit is still grown on the land once farmed by John Joseph Mechi. The creative skills of Ben Wincott, the designer from Writtle College, were reflected in his choice of the water feature, natural stone and the challenging planting.



Ben’s design illustrated the values of the Victorian plantsmen who were keen to introduce new methods of cultivation and new plants from abroad. A bubbling champagne style water feature, the introduction of copper to remind us that copper is still used in jam making pans at Tiptree and innovative ways of growing rhubarb may have inspired some visitors to replicate his methods in their own gardens.


After months of searching Ben found a superb specimen tree for the garden, some beautiful Espalier pear trees, hundreds of strawberry plants grown for the show by Essex plant grower, Ken Muir, and rhubarb crowns that were taken from the fields where once Mechi farmed at Tiptree. The medlar tree that featured in the Chelsea garden was replanted in the medlar orchard at Tiptree where it thrives.


We hope that this virtual reminder of the Chelsea Flower Show will rekindle some memories as we look forward to a time when the Chelsea Show will be open again in 2021.


Seasonal Update

6th May 2020


The Farm – The cherry and apple blossoms have been beautiful this year and everyone on the farm is busy nurturing the crops, though our strawberry harvest is later than usual due to some chilly nights.



Special offer – if you are unable to visit your usual stockiest or if you would like to send a gift to a friend our online service has two special offers in May:  20% off all Tiptree Fine English spirits and a free delivery service for orders over £10 to a UK address.



Event - updates for 2020:


Open Farm Sunday – organized by LEAF (Linking the Environment And Farming) has been rescheduled from Sunday 7th June to Sunday 20th September, though this date is subject to review.


Tiptree Strawberry Race – June 2020 has been cancelled.  This is a traditional event where our pickers compete to find the best and fastest picker.  Some great hats too!


National Cream Tea Day - on Friday 26th June 2020 will be a virtual Cream Tea Day when we hope friends and families will be able to share (remotely) a cream tea with home made scones, Tiptree Strawberry Conserve and Rodda’s Cornish Clotted Cream – more details later.


Little Scarlet Music Festival - has been postponed to 2021 – this summer festival brings together talented local musicians and the people from the village who enjoy music making in the orchard.


Agricultural shows, Game shows and other events – most organisers have cancelled these shows for the foreseeable future but you can keep up to date with Tiptree news via social media links.


Peter Wilkin celebrates his birthday with the damson orchard

6th May 2020


Today is a very special birthday for Peter Wilkin, the great grandson of Mr. Arthur Charles Wilkin the founder of Wilkin & Sons and by no strange coincidence eighty years ago a damson orchard was planted on the farm close to Peter’s home and it still providing a useful crop of rich dark fruit.


All of the Directors and staff would like to wish Mr Peter a very happy 80th birthday!




Tearoom Closures

23rd March 2020


It is with great sadness that we have now taken the decision to close all of our Tiptree Tea Rooms and shops. Following government advice, we now believe that it is in the best interests of our staff and customers to remain closed until further notice.


We can’t wait to welcome you back to our Tiptree Tea Rooms once we are able to. The smell of freshly baked scones will fill the air and our friendly staff will be here to greet you with a big smile and a cup of tea.


Royalty at Tiptree Celebrating a Birthday

10th March 2020



The staff and directors of Wilkin & Sons were delighted to welcome TRH The Earl & Countess of Wessex who visited the farm and factory on Tuesday afternoon.  The Earl of Wessex has a special interest in farming and water while The Countess of Wessex is Honorary President of LEAF (Linking the Environment AND Farming), an organization that promotes a better understanding of sustainable farming with close links to the Tiptree farm.


The Lord Lieutenant of Essex, Mrs Jennifer Tolhurst, introduced the welcome party including the Mayor of Colchester Borough Council, Cllr Nick Cope, the chairman of Tiptree Parish Council and other dignitaries and the company’s directors. Chris Newenham, joint managing director of Wilkin & Sons invited The Earl and Countess to plant a tree, a very special Tilia Europaea - Golden Sunset Lime tree that will be part of a new avenue of lime trees.



On arrival at the factory Walter Scott, chairman of the company, greeted the Earl and Countess as they started their tour of the traditional factory.  They were keen to talk to the staff who were checking and preparing the fruit for jam and splitting the oranges for marmalade before moving to the busy filling room where they spotted the hundreds of mini jars being filled with Strawberry Conserve.  As they left the factory the group passed the photographs of HM The Queen’s visit in October 2010 marking 125 years of jam making at Tiptree.


“As a significant Essex food manufacturer who is also a LEAF demonstration farm of which the Countess is patron, Wilkin & Sons seemed the perfect location for their visit,” said Chris Newenham joint managing director.  “It was a very special occasion and we really appreciate the time the Earl and Countess spent talking to so many staff and then greeting the local children and families that had gathered outside to wave them farewell”.


Following the tour of the factory the royal party moved to the tea room where Scott Goodfellow, joint managing director, and Georgina Offord, finance director introduced representatives from across the family of Wilkin’s businesses.  The highlight came when the Earl of Wessex was invited to cut his birthday cake, a special chocolate cake made at Tiptree Patisserie and Walter Scott said, “Your Royal Highnesses, on behalf of the company I’d like to say we hope you enjoyed your visit – we did, I’d like to ask you to cut the cake.”  The Earl of Wessex responded, “Thank you very much for inviting us to look at this very famous factory that makes jams, cakes and sauces.”



The Earl and Countess signed the visitors’ book, received a basket of preserves from David Cross, who has been with the company for 60 years and the Countess was presented with a posy by Jackie Dustan, one of the supervisors who joined in 1997.


Leaving the Tiptree visitors’ centre the royal party were met by a crowd of smiling faces from local school children, friends and families; and they spent time chatting to many of the children who also sung Happy Birthday.




The Bread Oscars are back – in New York

10th February 2020



The Tiptree World Bread Awards supported by American Bakers’ Association are coming to New York again for 2020 to recognise the very best American bread bakers.  The Awards are now open for online


The Awards are at the heart of New York Bread Week, which takes place November 13 - 19 2020 and celebrates all things bread for one wonderful week, in partnership with Edible Queens.


The Judging Day of the Awards will take place at the International Culinary Center on November 18 2020 where a top panel of 40 judges will taste, discuss and debate their way through all the entries.


The 2020 Awards have 15 categories, from sourdough to bagel and, for the first time, the Burger Bun category; we are in search of the best bun for America’s great traditional food, the burger! We are also delighted to introduce the new Flatbread category celebrating all the wonderful flatbreads of different cuisines from around the world.


The judges, a line-up of New York’s food aristocracy, will include legendary New York baker and James Beard Foundation Award nominee Zachary Golper of Bien Cuit, New York’s top foodie instagrammer Alexa Matthews of EatingNYC, Gregory Lofts, Deputy Food Editor, Martha Stewart Living, and Jansen Chan, Director of Pastry Operations, International Culinary Center.


Last year loaves were received from all round the country for the Judging Day in Brooklyn. The Overall Winner was Jonathan Bethony of Seylou, Washington, DC who received a cheque for $1000 and global publicity.


This year, excitingly, the entry fee also includes a ticket to the fabulous VIP Awards Evening in Manhattan on November 19 2020 to mingle with the upper crust of the food and baking world and the press.


Photo : Stephen Hallam, Chairman of Judges, Jonathan Bethony, Overall Winner, Philippine Coste, International Sales Manager, Tiptree
Credit: Henry Kenyon


“60 years of loyal service at Tiptree”

4th January 2020


This week marks 60 years of loyal service for David Cross at Wilkin & Sons Ltd at Tiptree.

On the 4th January 1960, David aged 15, started working with Charlie Challis in the Box Room, he then moved to the Crate Room where the fruit is checked and cleaned before going to the jam making process.  Today David will still be on site at 6.30 a.m. busy clearing, helping people and as he calls it being a generally “gopher”.  Ask David and he will know where it is, a term that has been linked to him for many years.


Walter Scott, chairman of Wilkin & Sons, marked David’s special anniversary by presenting him with a cake with a message “marking sixty years of loyal distinguished service” ; friends and colleagues shared the celebration.


Walter said: “When David joined us we only had two television channels and they were black and white. When I joined in 1985 he was in charge of the Crate Room, we paced it together when his daughter was due to be born. Now that daughter is on maternity leave from our company.”  Walter thanked him both personally and on behalf of the company for his service and his loyalty. Several of the old pieces of equipment that David worked on when he was first with the company, such as the cherry stoner, can now be seen in the Tiptree Museum.


David was born in the village of Easthorpe and now lives in Tiptree.


Ten years ago David was asked about his best times at Tiptree, and his response is the same today: “the people:  you get to work with and have a laugh with that’s what makes it special.”

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