Little Scarlets have moved into Gin – February

The new Tiptree Little Scarlet Gin Liqueur is a really local product: the tiny Little Scarlet strawberries are only grown on Wilkin & Sons’ estate and taken just a few miles to Hayman’s, traditional distillers, who have developed this amazing drink. 

The first batch has proved very popular with consumers, chefs and bar managers and the consensus of opinion is that it is best served poured over ice or with ice and a very good tonic.  For a great party drink add a dash of Tiptree Fruit Gin Liqueur to Prosecco or Champagne for a bubbling taste of summer.

Celebrating Ten Tea Rooms – Osea addition – February

Ten “tea rooms” and still room for more, Wilkin & Sons’ clutch of tea rooms has a new addition.  The latest location for a Tiptree venue is The View River Café overlooking the sea wall on the Blackwater Estuary.  Walkers exploring the coastline can stop for a hot sausage sandwich, a cream tea or a hot chocolate and a cake as they watch the waders and the boats across the estuary from the comfort of the café. 

 Access from the sea wall or via the steps from the Osea Leisure Park, The View River Café provides a welcome halt for a quick bite and one of the best views along the Essex coast.  Limited parking is available on site but many walkers start their walk at Heybridge Basin, stop at The View River Café for a bite and then have lunch at “the lock” when they return to Heybridge Basin. 

Open every day

The View, Osea Leisure Park, Goldhanger Road, Heybridge, Essex, CM9 4SA



 Captain’s “Approval” of New Tea Room at Barleylands – March

Southend United captain John White took a sneak preview of the new Tiptree Barleylands tea room which will be open from midday on the 22nd March.  The tea room will offer the traditional Tiptree tea room menu and with interesting seasonal specials each day, a peaceful setting to enjoy with friends.

 The new tea room is next to the popular Tiptree Pantry which offers a quick self-service menu and space for visitors to meet their friends and family.

Open every day

Tiptree Tea Room, Barleylands, Barleylands Road, Billericay, CM11 2UD



Mark’s visit, come and see the barge teapot – Finchingfield on TV - April

What is a Barge Teapot? TV celebrity visits Bosworth’s to explain

Mark Stacey, the television celebrity and antiques’ expert visited Tiptree’s Bosworth’s tea room in Finchingfield to film the BBC’s popular antiques based programme ‘Put your money where your mouth is’.  Mark came to the traditional tea room with the intention of selling an historic barge teapot to Nicky Goldsack, the Tea Rooms Business Manager. He explained that the large decorative tea pots were used in barges on the canals of middle England .

After some hard negotiating Mark and Nicky agreed a price before being rewarded with a Tiptree cream tea; “It was lovely to meet Mark after seeing him on screen and this fascinating teapot now has a new home where visitors have been intrigued to hear the story of its origin.”

The programme, which includes some quick shots of the village’s feathered friends was first shown on Tuesday 14th April 2016 on BBC1 and may be seen on iplayer. 

 Raspberries on TV “The Food Chain” screened  - April

 The television cameras followed the life of raspberries grown by fruit farmer Angus in Perthshire on their 400 mile journey to Tiptree where they were made into Tiptree Sweet Tip Raspberry Conserve.  Technical manager Robert Parker explained that making jam was a mix of cookery, science and a little “black” magic as we watched the bubbling fruit and sugar reach setting point.  Proving that generations of families still work for the company Shane introduced us to some of his relatives who work in different departments.

 First broadcast on Channel Four on the 11th April 2016, it should be available online.

 What you won’t see in the film is some lovely ladies at “the lock” tea room enjoying Sweet Tip Raspberry on home-made scones or people using Raspberry Conserve in Bakewell tarts or jam tarts.  Another time perhaps!

 Jimmy Doherty films at Tiptree - February

 TV celebrity and farmer Jimmy Doherty visited Tiptree to film marmalade making for Channel Four and to talk to Robert Parker about the different processes – sorting, cooking, hand splitting, boiling and bottling. 

 Jimmy was filming one of the “Food Unwrapped” programmes that is focussing on oranges and he had just returned from a trip to the Seville region of Spain where the oranges for Tiptree are grown. 


 Strawberry racers beat the weather

Dressed to celebrate The Queen’s 90th Birthday – June

 Over sixty enthusiastic pickers enjoyed the sun on their backs, though it was wet underfoot,  as they competed for the title Fastest and Best Picker for 2016 at the Tiptree Strawberry Race at Bounds Farm, Goldhanger today; pickers of all ages raced to collect as many Little Scarlet strawberries as they could  in an hour.  The Fastest picker was: Rofol Pochwata from Poland who picked 4.4kilos, not a record but a supreme effort in difficult conditions, Raluca Grigoruta from Romania was the runner-up.  The tiny berries were put in the chilled van and taken straight to the jam factory.

 Emerging from the field were bright coloured hats and fun costumes to mark The Queen’s 90th birthday and to raise funds for the Tiptree village pensioners lunch and the Royal British Legion.  Fancy dress results:

 Best Hat – Winner was Pat Bembridge and the runners-up were  Robert & Julia Eddington.  Best Dressed – Winners were Dennis & Eileen Williamson and the runner-up was Adam Mead

 Peter Wilkin, chairman, made a special presentation to four long serving pickers who were marking significant wedding anniversaries this year; he thanked all the pickers for their efforts.

 Chris Newenham, director commented:  “This June has been one of the wettest on record on the farm with over 9 inches of rain so far, our average annual rainfall is only 20 inches per year.  The tiny Little Scarlet strawberries are known for their delicate nature so we were relieved to find they have produced a great tasting berry that will make delicious jam.”  The Race was due to take place on the 23rd June but was postponed because of the threat of storms last Thursday.

 The funds raised went towards the Tiptree village pensioners lunch that took place in July where the centre piece was an amazing cake created by Tiptree Patisserie.


New Growing System NGS – first in UK launched at Tiptree - June

 The first NGS (new growing system) in the UK has been launched at Tiptree as guests watched Peter Wilkin, chairman, cut the ribbon and congratulate the team involved with the development of this innovative way of growing strawberries.  Peter mentioned that the location of the innovative NGS was particularly pertinent as it was on land once farmed by John Joseph Mechi an inventor and far sighted man who understood the value of irrigation and innovation.

 The new growing system is based around growing troughs which alternately raise and lower rows of strawberry plants to both maximise the cropped area while also allowing easy access to the pickers for harvesting.  The system makes better use of space and more than doubles the growing area as there is no longer any need to allow large alleyways between rows.

 “The new growing system in a high-tech environmentally controlled growing tunnel, was a substantial investment for the company and we hope to see the results of our faith in the unit over the next twelve months.  Tiptree is one of the driest parts of the country so we are delighted that the new growing system is 80% self-sufficient as it uses rain water from the roof and run-off from the crop to keep the plants watered,” said Chris Newenham director of Wilkin & Sons.  “It is a highly sustainable system: maximising the growing area and minimising water use while ensuring pests and disease pressure is minimal through growing in a sealed, environmentally controlled unit.”


 The Little Scarlet Music Festival - July

 A lovely day was had by all at the inaugural Little Scarlet Music Festival, held in the Jubilee Orchard, at Wilkin and Sons Ltd., Tiptree.  This was a small and local festival, for the community. It was the brainchild of former Managing Director Ian Thurgood, as he had thought it would be a lovely way to host a local festival for local people, for all the family, many of whom, this would be their first ever music festival.

1000 tickets were sold, visitors needed a voucher from the Tribune to purchase tickets, these sold out the week before the event.

 There was something for everyone at the festival; a main stage was constructed with 2 Tiptree lorries, this hosted 6 local bands, with a mixture of different styles

A busk stop was available for local musicians to put their names down to play acapella to onlookers sitting on hay bales.

 Gunpowder Gertie entertained the younger visitors in her brightly coloured and fun children’s area, whilst adults could enjoy a fruit gin spritzer from the gin bike stall, or a specially created Little Scarlet Strawberry beer, at the bar.

 The Tiptree trailer was manned by ladies from the Tiptree Tearoom who sold cream teas, strawberries and cream, and soft drinks, including fruit juice. Fresh  strawberries, raspberries and cherries, freshly picked from the farm were also available.

 Meeleyhoops entertained the crowds and encouraged all ages to try hoola-hooping

 The main stage was opened by the competition winner, a 13 year old local singer called Torrence Jay, who belted out a rousing rendition of “Don’t Stop Believing”


 Top Drawer London - Launch of New Tiptree Diffusers and Candles - September

 If you are visiting Top Drawer London, the amazing trade show, discover more about the new range of Tiptree Diffusers and Natural Wax Candles from the team on stand S15.

 Fruits from the farm at Tiptree have inspired a new range of Tiptree Rattan Reed Diffusers and Tiptree Natural Wax Candles that will be launched by Wilkin & Sons at Top Drawer September 2016.  They are designed and hand-made in England and are presented in high quality gift boxes. Their delicate scents bring to mind a leisurely stroll through the strawberry fields, a lazy summer snooze in the apple orchard, or the bright citrus tang of breakfast marmalade. 



Aldeburgh Food & Drink Festival   -  September

 A great day out at a beautiful location enjoying amazing food – the Aldeburgh Food & Drink Festival takes place at Snape Maltings on the 24th and 25th September 2016.  This annual event in a beautiful setting beside the reed beds of the Suffolk countryside and it attracts good food producers from across East Anglia.

 The Tiptree Demonstration Kitchen gives visitors time to sit, listen and pick up tips from interesting chefs and passionate cooks.  If you spot one of the Tiptree team they may give you an interesting sample to taste: it may be Salted Caramel or it could be Banoffee or Chocolate Spread.



BBC Essex celebrates 30 years of broadcasting - November

 Celebrations for the 30th birthday of BBC Essex on the 5th November have been taking place for several weeks.  Tiptree Patisserie’s amazing celebration cake, requested by a listener , provided a feast for enthusiastic presenters for several days; you could see it disappear on twitter.

 On Sunday 6th November Liana and Barry rushed round Essex trying to beat the Quest Master’s challenge to find four great locations before 11.50 a.m..  At 11.49 a.m. they drove into Dedham where Sarah, the manager of the Essex Rose Tea Room, flagged them down with the congratulations card.  They beat the clock, just, and won the Quest for another week.

 The Quest is a great interactive programme that encourages listeners to help Liana and Barry solve the cryptic clue for each destination; on Sunday one couple were so keen they followed Liana along the country lanes from the previous destination to ensure she reached Dedham on time.  Listeners discover stories about the largest village green, hidden treasures and great events.

 The celebrations continue with two special “Quest” events at the Civic Theatre Chelmsford on the 15th November.