We don’t like artificial additives. Sometimes we add pectin to make the jam set and sometimes, if the acidity levels are too high or low we use citric acid or sodium citrate to balance things – at home you might use lemon juice for the same reason. We have a firm ‘Tiptree’ policy of no artificial colours or flavours.
We use Spanish apricot halves to make Apricot Conserve. The fruit is stoned in Spain, packed and sent direct to Tiptree for sorting and cooking.
Apricot & Armagnac
Apricot Conserve with fine Armagnac brandy.
We use wild blueberries to give a stronger less sweet flavour.
We have a Consumer Careline at Tiptree and the number can be found on each jar – 0800 328 1749. The Careline is manned during normal office hours. Most enquiries can be dealt with immediately, those that can't are passed on to someone who knows or can find the answer for you.
This most traditional of English puddings is made here at Tiptree from the highest quality ingredients including French brandy and Tawny Marmalade. Each pudding is hand filled and hand wrapped, those in presentation boxes carry the packer’s name under the lid. Tiptree puddings taste better steamed, but if you prefer to use a microwave oven be careful not to burn the pudding. For many, Christmas lunch is the most important meal of the year, finish it in style!
Tiptree’s is the original. Made at Tiptree from fresh fruit, the preserve has a strong and fruity flavour with the glorious aroma of cinnamon and the warmth of our own special recipe of mixed spices.
A fine cut orange jelly marmalade.
(Orange and Tangerine). The first of a planned range of mixed fruit marmalades, Double One combines oranges and tangerine juice with fine cut peel to make the juiciest of Tiptree marmalades.
(Orange and Lime). The second in the planned range of mixed fruit marmalades, Double Two is made from the juice of oranges and limes with no peel.
Now there’s a buzz-word that has come to really mean something for everyone. Tiptree has found that looking after the environment actually can make commercial good sense as well as leaving something for our children and grandchildren.
A European term, denoting jam that has (with some exceptions) been made with 45g of fruit to every 100g of jam. Do be aware that the declared sugar figure is the sugar content in the finished product, both that added and that from the fruit itself - fruit and sugar percentages do not other than by chance total 100.
Fruit for the market
In recent times, the farm has become so successful at growing the best quality fruit that much of it is now grown especially for sale as fresh fruit in supermarkets and farm shops. Often the varieties are not the same as those used for ‘Tiptree’ preserves but the quality is as always, second to none.
We have a policy of growing our own fruit wherever possible. The main advantages are that we can choose the variety of fruit to suit our taste, we can pick the fruit at the point where we consider it to be ideally ripe, transport times to the factory are cut from weeks, days or hours to just a few minutes and we can use fresh fruit when it really counts.
The fruit grown at Tiptree is picked by overseas students who visit Tiptree under a government-approved scheme for several weeks, by caravanners who are booked into our caravan camp for a summer break and by local pickers. Once picked, the fruit is transported the short distance across the fields to the main site, where it will be prepared and made into jam.
Every fruit that we use is sorted by us here at Tiptree before cooking. We remove under and over-ripe fruit, blemishes and any foreign matter such as straw that may have found its way into the fruit.
Not in Tiptree products.
It’s sometimes very hard to believe that Tiptree is in a part of the country that has the lowest rainfall.
Before the Wilkin family, almost 150 years ago, experimental farmer John Joseph Mechi farmed at Tiptree Hall and used a latticework of underground pipes to irrigate the land. In the 1970s and beyond great arcs of water could be seen pumping across the crops to provide the much-needed supplies for the fruit to survive in dry conditions.
Today, Tiptree has made huge investments in the most up-to-date irrigation systems, underground pipes, computer-aided drip-feed systems that provide only what is actually needed in each part of the field, direct to the plants. Up to two thirds of the water that would have been used in earlier times is thus saved.
Jelly is a term used for jam made from the juice of the fruit. Juice is obtained from the fruit by cooking it and then sieving it through muslin bags, ready to be cooked with sugar before filling hot into glass jars.
‘Tiptree’ Lemon Curd is made from eggs and dairy butter. You’ll love the flavour and texture of this uniquely British conconction. By the way, lemon curd and lemon cheese are the same thing.
Little Scarlet Strawberry
Tiptree’s most famous preserve, it is secret agent James Bond’s first choice, and unique to Tiptree. The Little Scarlet originates from the USA and has been grown at Tiptree since 1887. The tiny berries are usually no larger than a 1p coin (up to 20mm) and have an intensely sweet flavour. The plants are difficult to cultivate, erratic croppers and due to its size, the fruit takes a long time to pick and sort.
Tiptree’s loganberry conserve is made from fruit grown on the Tiptree farm and picked at the peak of ripeness. The flavour similar to blackberry, although a little sharper and more intense. C.J. Wilkin found loganberries growing in California and brought them back to Tiptree in the late 1800s where they were cultivated and continue to be grown to this day.
A curiously British term, marmalade means a jam made with citrus fruit. The term was fought over in the European Community as other countries wanted to do away with it or change its meaning. Marmalade contains citrus fruit (sometimes with something else like ginger or whisky) and is usually characterised by the cut of the peel. Tiptree marmalades for example are available as fine-, medium- or thick-cut peel and there are even a couple of varieties with no peel at all. Marmalade is thought to have originated in Portugal, where quinces (marmelo) were cooked with sugar to make a preserve. The British were the first to add the peel back to orange marmalade, to make the preserve set instead of using apple juice, hence the British tradition of orange marmalade.
Medlars (Mespilus germanica) grow on trees in small orchards dotted around the Tiptree estate. What a star of all fruits in the fruit world, this is a fruit with attitude! Rough-skinned, misshapen, ugly and practically inedible as fresh fruit, the cooked juice of the medlar takes on a rich burgundy colour and the flavour of spiced apples. Picked in November, it is the very last crop to be harvested at Tiptree. Medlars were common in Victorian times when well-to-do families would always have a medlar tree in the garden, pick the fruit and store it in bran, to be eaten as a sweet at Christmas. The fruit is not ripe until it is bletted, that’s when the soft brown pulp can be squeezed from the skin.
Tiptree’s Mulberry Jelly is made from mulberries grown in a small orchard at the back of the factory. The trees are as much as 150 years old and some young trees planted recently are expected to bear fruit within twenty years or so. If you’re planning your own mulberry orchard, you’d better have started before now. The size of the trees and their brittle wood make the fruit difficult to pick and the dark purple juice stains and takes days to wash off. The fruit is carried over to the factory and each individual berry has the hard centre core cut out by hand. There is nothing quite like the flavour of mulberry conserve yet so few jars are produced that most people will never get the chance to try it.
As we won’t have nuts in our factory at Tiptree, you can be sure that the preserves will be safe for those with a nut allergy. That same policy extends to Tiptree Christmas puddings too – NO NUTS!
Fine cut orange marmalade from bitter Seville oranges.
Tiptree has a small range of certified organic products and parts of the Tiptree estate are farmed organically. We already farm sympathetically and have in recent years carried out an extensive tree and hedge planting programme. In a fascinating experiment, part of the sea defences at Tollesbury was broached and some of the farm flooded to form an alternative coastal sea defence.
Where necessary, we use fruit pectin to help make jam set. Not all Tiptree products contain it as we cook in the traditional way and can often create a natural set without the need for this additive. For example, Tiptree Orange Marmalade contains just oranges and sugar - there is enough natural pectin in the peel of the oranges to make it set just by cooking with sugar. The pectin we use is from fruit so all of our jams and marmalades are suitable for vegetarians.
It's fashionable right now to talk about how important people are. We were thinking that well over 100 years ago when we started to build cottages for employees, created a profit share scheme and a company pension fund. Those traditions continue to this day, with many employees living in company homes in and around the Tiptree farms. Through an EBT (Employee Benefit Trust), employees today own almost half the voting rights of the shares in the Company, a kind of mini-John Lewis Partnership approach. Wilkin and Sons continue the ethos of the Wilkin family in supporting local clubs and groups, donating to charities and generally taking part in village life.
If you have any questions that aren't answered on this web site, you are welcome to send them to us by fax, phone or e-mail – firstname.lastname@example.org is a good place to start. We are also happy to answer questions of a technical nature too.
How best to describe this strange fruit? A Quince is a quince. A most unusual fruit, about the size and shape of a large mis-shapen pear with yellow fluffy skin, the quince has an astringent taste that might put anyone off from eating it raw. When cooked with sugar (either as a conserve or a jelly), it takes on a character all of its own. Quinces grow on trees on the ‘Tiptree’ estate and are picked in the autumn.
More than a quarter of sales are to overseas markets, the strongest being France, Germany, China and the USA. Most five star hotels in Britain serve Tiptree, as do top airlines such as Virgin Atlantic and British Airways (Upper Class only) and the best known cruise ships. Tiptree often crops up in the most unexpected places - we have been told of it being on sale in Katmandu and offered for breakfast in remote Pacific islands. Why not tell us where you were most surprised to find it?
One of Britain's best kept secrets? ‘Tiptree’ have been making chutneys since Victorian times. Today, the range includes Barbecue Relish, Tomato Ketchup and Hot Gooseberry Chutney, all made from the very best ingredients.
Some Tiptree products are made using fresh fruit. We have to guess what we’re going to need, pick the fruit, make the preserve and then store it for up to a year. In winter we are busy making marmalades; in summer we make from the fresh fruits grown on the ‘Tiptree’ estate; in between those busy times, we make jellies, Christmas Puddings, Lemon Curd and anything else that tastes just as good when made from frozen fruit as it does from fresh.
Generally speaking, three years for jam and marmalade. As many consumers will know, jam will keep for much longer and can still be in perfect condition even after ten years. However we should not take chances with food and few ‘Tiptree’ customers have a jar on their shelves for long anyway.
The fruit that has put Tiptree on the map. In summer, all around the village can be found green fields splashed with the bright colours of pickers, bending over the rows of plants protected by the straw that most assume gives the fruit its name. In fact, it is more likely that strawberry is a derivative of straeberry, meaning that the plants spread their runners and stray across the fields. Straw is used to keep the fruit clean and to help it to ripen sooner. Strawberries for the fresh fruit market are grown using more modern methods, often under cover and sometimes at waist height so that picking is faster and easier.
The strawberry is in fact a false fruit, that is to say that the seeds are on the outside. Different varieties have different flavours and the more recent varieties are grown for their crop yields as much as for their flavour. Needless to say, we grow the traditional varieties but are continually monitoring progress to see if the new flavours can be as good. Strawberries were first grown at Tiptree because the sandy soil was of little use for anything else. At the height of the season, several hundreds of pickers can be found in the fields on the ‘Tiptree’ estate, all helping to pick fruit that can be made into jam within hours of being picked - fresh from the fields.
This rich dark marmalade is made from Seville oranges that are cooked with sugar and nothing else. The dark colour and spicy flavour come from oranges that have been cooked whole, then cooked with sugar, left to cool overnight and cooked a third time to caramelise the sugar - a quite unique product that is well worth the extra effort in the making.
The four varieties that make up the ‘Tiptree’ tea range are prepared and packed to our exact specifications. We use only orthodox leaf so be sure to use freshly boiled water and to leave the tea to brew for at least four minutes. Today's hectic life style has meant that most of us have forgotten how to enjoy a really good cup of tea and resort to a hastily dunked tea bag with milk to take away the bitterness - our teas taste just as good without milk but if you must, just a dash is sufficient. Please note too that our Earl Grey is made with China tea and real oil of bergamot. This gives the strong aroma of bergamot but still allows you to taste the fine tea. ‘Tiptree’ Earl Grey is a tea for the confirmed non-tea drinker!
Three Fruits Marmalade
Oranges, lemons and grapefruits.
Tiptree is a village in the Essex countryside, between the county town of Chelmsford and Britain's oldest recorded town, Colchester. The Wilkin family have farmed here for centuries and began fruit growing in early Victorian times. The village has a secondary school, primary schools, shops, pubs and other facilities and is a thriving community. London is just an hour away by road or rail, London's third airport is 25 miles distant and the port of Harwich is 40 minutes drive. Wilkin & Sons address is simply Wilkin & Sons Limited, Tiptree, Essex.
For many years the most popular in the marmalade range, ‘Tiptree’ Marmalade is made from just Seville oranges and sugar. Whole, fresh, bitter oranges are brought to Tiptree in January and February, from the orange groves of Seville in Spain. First they are cooked whole and then the peel is removed by hand and cut up into medium thick strips before adding back to cook with sugar. Compare the fruit used figure and ingredients list (Sugar, Oranges) of this and others in the ranges to see why ‘Tiptree’ marmalades taste so much better.
All ‘Tiptree’ jams and marmalades are suitable for vegetarians as are the teas, savoury range, relishes, mustard and Christmas puddings. Our curds contain eggs and butter.
Trade visitors are welcome to see the Tiptree factory and farm by prior appointment. The on-site museum, jam shop and tea room is open seven days a week. Visitors can see how jam making has changed yet remained the same over the last century, and afterwards choose from the full range of products that we make or simply take afternoon cream tea with us.
The Wilkin family has been involved in the business right from the very first day. Great grandson of the founder, Peter Wilkin, has a degree in horticulture and worked on the farm before taking his place on the board of directors. Today Peter Wilkin still enjoys an involvement in farming and his regular form of transport is a Land Rover.
Wilkin & Sons Limited
The business is now over 130 years old and the Wilkin family members are still significant shareholders. To maintain its staunch independence, the company will one day be owned by the employees, many of whom live in houses on the estate. Whole families can and do work in the business and several of today's workforce are following in the footsteps of their parents and grandparents too. The company policy is to be best at everything it does.