Schoolgirl inspires new Pink Grapefruit Marmalade – February 2010

Hearts and fruit: a great combination for a romantic marmalade inspired by a young marmalade maker, Katy Mason, who will taste the new Tiptree Pink Grapefruit Marmalade on the 14th February at the Original Marmalade Day Festival at Dalemain Historic Country House in Cumbria.

Katy had a clever idea to make her marmalade stand out from the other entries at a previous Marmalade Festival: she added hand cut heart shaped peel to her marmalade creating a stir amongst judges and fellow competitors.

Cutting tiny hearts for a dozen jars of home-made marmalade requires patience but transferring that idea to a professional jam maker is far more challenging.  The finished jars show a delicious pink grapefruit marmalade with hearts suspended in the jelly.

Marmalade Day at Dalemain attracts over 500 entries to the marmalade competition and this year there will also be a romantic story competition – details

Valentine present - New Tiptree Pink Grapefruit Marmalade in store

Shopping early for Valentine’s Day breakfast?  The new limited edition romantic Tiptree Pink Grapefruit Marmalade with hand cut hearts is now available across the UK: Booths, Selfridges, Harrods, Fortnum & Mason, good food stores and at The Original Marmalade Festival in Dalemain, Cumbria on the 14th February rsp £2.99.

Easter Gift - New 125 Tiptree Bag – 26 March 2010

Mia Holmes, a design student at Colchester Institute, and Mr Peter Wilkin, chairman of Wilkin & Sons Limited, launched the new 125 Tiptree Hessian bag based on Mia’s winning design; it’s a great gift for Easter.

The students presented the company with a selection of designs reflecting heritage, fruits and products to mark 125 years of jam making at Tiptree. Visitors to the Tiptree Museum can see a display of designs submitted for the competition.  The 125 bags are available from the Tiptree Jam Shop at £3. 

“Selecting a final design was a challenge, as there were so many fascinating ideas,” said Ian Thurgood joint managing director of Wilkin & Sons Limited.  “The quality of the entries is a credit to the talent of the students and the encouragement of their tutors”.  The winner received a small prize and Colchester Institute benefitted from the sale of the first bags. 

Fairies at the Factory  – March 2010

Mother’s Day Gift or Collectors’ Limited Edition

Young Kate Goodfellow discovered a set of fairies at the Tiptree Visitors’ Centre during a recent visit.  The six designs (125 sets) of handmade stoneware fairies were created by Sally Moss of Ceramic Crafts Ltd for Wilkin & Sons Limited so no two fairies are exactly alike, perfect for collectors. They each hold: a book, large flowers, butterfly, small posy, jam jar or a Little Scarlet Strawberry.

“We were keen to find a way that collectors and customers could share our celebrations marking 125 years of jam making at Tiptree and buy a gift that they can treasure,” said Ian Thurgood, Joint Managing Director of Wilkin & Sons Ltd.

This limited edition of 125 fairies in six designs cannot be repeated.  Sitting at about 12cm in height each fairy has its own marked box with the authenticated number.   The Tiptree Visitor Jam Shop has stock of the fairies.

125 Gold Tins – March 2010

Sanderson, the fabric designer, and Wilkins & Sons Limited have collaborated to produce a stunning Gold Tin containing 6 Tiptree preserves, to mark two important anniversaries.  Sanderson is celebrating 150 years in business and Wilkin & Sons is celebrating 125 years of jam making at Tiptree. 

The lid of the 125 Gold Tins is embellished with a design carefully selected from an amazing wall covering found in Sanderson’s archives.  

Tiptree Marmalade on Blue Peter – April 2010

Katy Mason, the schoolgirl who inspired the limited edition of Tiptree Pink Grapefruit Marmalade with hearts of peel appeared on BBC TV Blue Peter on the 13th April.  Katy was demonstrating her winning marmalade recipe in the great kitchen at Dalemain House in Cumbria. 

A quick trip to the other end of the country and Katy is seen exploring the Jam Factory at Tiptree with Walter Scott, joint managing director, as they watch the marmalade she inspired being made and she had her first taste of this special conserve.

Tiptree at Chelsea – John Joseph Mechi Garden – May 2010

Strawberries and Champagne: the theme for the John Joseph Mechi garden at this year’s Chelsea Flower Show will create huge interest from fruit loving visitors.  A garden, sponsored by Wilkin & Sons Ltd, reflects the times of this innovative Victorian farmer and a celebration of two special anniversaries for 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.  In June this year Wilkin & Sons Limited will celebrate 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 garden designer from Writtle College, are reflected in his choice of the water feature, natural stone and the challenging planting.

“We hope that John Joseph Mechi, this Victorian entrepreneur and philanthropist who was so determined to pioneer new farming techniques, would have been pleased and proud to rest in this garden,” said Ian Thurgood joint managing director of Wilkin & Sons Limited.”

Ben’s design illustrates 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 and innovative ways of growing rhubarb will inspire visitors to replicate some of his methods in their own gardens

Details of the development of the garden can be found on the Writtle web site.



New – Tiptree Ice Cream – Exquisitely Cool – May 2010

Tiptree preserves on ice

A new simple grown-up ice cream made with traditional Tiptree Conserves swirled into luxurious dairy ice cream has been released.  A truly innovative idea from Wilkin & Sons Limited who have perfected the making of fine conserves over 125 years.  Tiptree’s unique Little Scarlet Strawberry Conserve, the bitter/sweet Tawny Orange Marmalade and tangy Lemon Curd were selected for the first of this new range of special ice creams.  Look out for the distinctive black 500 ml cartons with the Tiptree fruit on the label in selected Waitrose stores and independent food stores. 

“Ice-cream is exquisite - what a pity it isn't illegal”, Voltaire. “This quote reflects people’s passion for ice cream,” says Ian Thurgood Joint Managing Director of Wilkin & Sons Ld. “It’s a new venture for Tiptree and an opportunity for customers to enjoy the full flavour of Little Scarlet, Lemon Curd and Tawny Orange while enjoying a creamy dessert.”

Open Farm Sunday with Rachel Green at Tiptree – June 2010

13 June 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Come to Tiptree and explore the farm, visit the strawberry fields, meet the farmer, take the orchard trail, taste strawberries, be inspired to cook, sample jam, meet the birds, watch the face painting and see the paintings of talented local youngsters; and then enjoy a cream tea.

Farmers’ daughter and professional cook Rachel Green has a passion good food and she will be demonstrating delicious recipes using Tiptree products at Tiptree Visitors’ Centre, Tiptree Essex CO5 0RF.  Rachel can inspire even the most unwilling cooks to try her new simple recipes specially developed for the event.

Open Farm Sunday is organised by (LEAF) Linking The Environment and Farming.

Look beyond the farm gate and see the time and dedication that goes into growing strawberries, loganberries, plums and quince for our fine preserves as we celebrate 125 years of jam making at Tiptree.


Holby City Stars at Tiptree Strawberry Race – July 2010

Celebrating 125 years of jam making at Tiptree 25th June 1885-2010

TV’s Holby City stars Tom Chambers and Rebecca Grant started the 2010 Tiptree Strawberry Race on the land once farmed by John Joseph Mechi the founder of the farming charity Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution, who is celebrating their 150th anniversary.

The race to find the best picker was a challenge as the two hundred pickers struggled to find ripe tiny Little Scarlet berries due to the late season.  After an hour of picking they gathered sufficient tiny strawberries to make 5,000 jars of Little Scarlet Strawberry Conserve. To mark 125 years of jam making at Tiptree one lucky picker was rewarded with a unique solid gold Little Scarlet strawberry created by local silversmith Rachel Newenham.

After a short ride across the fields Tom and Rebecca visited the jam factory to watch the fresh strawberries being made into conserve.  Despite the late harvest, the pickers raised £4,000 for The Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RABI) and The Lady Taverners.



“The Magician’s Box” – a new play about John Joseph Mechi – July 2010

One of Tiptree’s most famous residents, John Joseph Mechi (played by Noel Jones) is the central character in a new play written by Ann Courtney and commissioned by Wilkin & Sons Limited as part of their 125 years celebrations on the 14, 16 & 17th July

“The Magician’s Box” takes the audience on an incredible journey fed by one man’s vision and imagination. Twice married, John Joseph Mechi reinvented himself as great ideas collapsed and fashions changed.  He made fortune after fortune yet died a pauper.

John Joseph Mechi, lived at Tiptree Hall and was buried in St Luke’s churchyard.  A passionate advocate of new farming methods, his concerns for the rural community’s poor resulted in the founding of what is today known as the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RABI).

Local residents are welcome to the Mad Dogs & Englishmen’s performances on the 14th, 16th and 17th July at Tiptree.  Entry is by ticket only, available free from the Tiptree Jam Shop, Tiptree CO5 0RF.  Donations are invited for Tiptree’s churches.

Premium pudding Cole’s and Tiptree jam makers join forces – July 2010

In a deal to be completed in July, luxury pudding maker Cole’s Traditional Foods, will become part of the Wilkin & Sons group, best known for its ‘Tiptree’ preserves.

Cole’s employ around 20 staff at the bakery near Saffron Walden in Essex.  Chris Cole, whose father started the first Cole’s bakery over seventy years ago will remain as Managing Director.  He told us, “It’s very much business as usual. My main concern was to protect the future of the business.  I’m delighted that we will be working with Wilkin & Sons.”

“Cole’s has an international reputation for high quality puddings and cakes” said Ian Thurgood, Joint Managing Director of Wilkin & Sons Ltd.   “It’s a great opportunity and represents part of our long-term vision to establish a group of benchmark premium food brands.  Our plan is for further investment to develop the Cole’s brand as the clear market leader.”

Aston Martin at Tiptree – August 2010

Members of the Essex Aston Martin Owners’ Club visited the Tiptree Visitors’ Centre as part of their main club's 75th anniversary year celebrations, which coincides with Wilkin & Sons 125th anniversary year.

Seven of the later model Astons, were on display in the jam factory grounds beside Wilkin & Sons highly polished award-winning truck.  Members of the club and their guests walked through the old orchard of juicy mulberries while Ian Thurgood spoke about the history and future development of the company. 

Wilkin & Sons Ltd and Aston Martin both started with just one man’s vision in pursuit of quality which continued through generations to maintain and improve the brand, both equally successful today.

BBC TV Breakfast August 2010

Quality, integrity and independence have been vital to the success of Wilkin & Sons’ according to the chairman, Peter Wilkin.  His comments came during an interview with Dominic Laurie on BBC TV’s Breakfast programme on bank holiday Monday.

Dominic and the crew discovered the messy task of mulberry picking, explored the Jam Museum, they talked to the caravanners who pick the tiny Little Scarlet strawberries, met one of the overseas students and discussed the future plans for the business as they watched fresh greengages being packed for the fresh fruit market.