Marmalade Making  - January


Oranges from the orchards of the Seville region of Spain arrive at Tiptree from mid-January; and the process of marmalade making was captured by a team from BBC Essex.  The clip shows oranges being split by hand and the busy mini line with individual portion jars being filled, labelled before being exported to hotels across the world.  The Seville oranges will be followed by: lemons, limes, grapefruit and tangerines that will be made into many other varieties of Tiptree marmalade.


“Is this a record - the biggest Belgian Bun?”  -  April

A huge one metre wide Belgian bun was made by Tiptree Patisserie to celebrate the launch of the new route from Southend (London) airport to Antwerp; a record winning bun perhaps.  

The special bun was nearly a metre wide and weighed more than 17kg; created by Clarence Hayden, Tiptree Patisserie bakery manager, the ingredients included:  15kg flour, sultanas, yeast and 3kg of apricot glaze and 1.5kg of Tiptree Lemon Curd, plus fondant icing and 50 cherries.

Glyn Jones, chief executive from Stobart Aviation, joined Clarence and his team from the Patisserie at the airport to cut the huge bun that was share with their colleagues.  Passengers taking the inaugural flight to Antwerp were given a mini Tiptree Chocolate Spread, made with Belgian chocolate, as a reminder of the link between the two countries.

New Fruit & Vegetable Crisps from Tiptree – May

 New Fruit & Vegetable Crisps have just been released in time for the summer market for a snack when travelling, at a barbecue or on a picnic. The range is:  Beetroot & Parsnip, Tomato & Cucumber, Pepper & Courgette, Pineapple, Pear, Apple

 “Tiptree Fruit & Vegetable Crisps are light, tasty, and provide at least one of your ‘five a day’ portions. They are gluten and dairy free, retaining fibre and Vitamin C. There’s nothing artificial added, just 100% natural fruit and veg” said Scott Goodfellow joint managing director of Wilkin & Sons Ltd.  “Air dried, not fried.”



“High Flyers” at the Tiptree Strawberry Race -  June

 This year’s Tiptree Strawberry Race, for the fastest picker of the tiny Little Scarlet strawberry, took place on Ship Field on Wilkin & Sons’ farm.  This was the first time pickers were faced with fruit at table top height, instead of crouching on the ground for the tiny strawberries.

 The pickers: farm workers and visiting teams took the theme “High Flyers” to heart and arrived in various hats and costumes to reflect RAF100 and high flying machines.  The celebrity “guest” was a replica of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang kindly brought to the field by Lodge Coaches which gave a splash of nostalgia and colour to the event. 

 Funds raised will be given to RAF100 and Aspire.  Rebecca Davies of the RAF Association thanked everyone for taking part and said, “We are a welfare charity looking after RAF personnel and are part of the RAF100 appeal. Congratulations on the hats that look incredible and the fancy dresses are amazing.”

 Hannah Wyatt from Aspire added her thanks and said, “Thank you so much for all turning up to compete for our charities.  Aspire provides practical help for people with spinal injuries which enables many of them to return to their own homes.”

 As he presented the prizes chairman of Wilkin & Sons, Walter Scott said:  “This really is a quirky event with so many people raising money for two important charities.”


Best Hat:        winner:            Pat Bembridge in a hat called “Another safe return”

Fastest Picker:winner Slavcho Pavlov (Bulgaria)      4.28kg

 We were fortunate that visitors from our German distributor, local businesses and  HMKM – London designers of Tiptree Bond Street Chelmsford store were all able to join us.

 All the fruit picked during the competition hour will be chilled and made into Little Scarlet Conserve.

 National Cream Tea Day - June

 Celebrating a Great British tradition, this year’s National Cream Tea Day will be held on Friday 29th June. 

 The aim of this special day is to encourage charity fundraisers, family and friends to come together to enjoy a traditional British occasion – a cream tea with delicious scones, fine conserves and Cornish clotted cream. Naturally we believe there should be Tiptree Strawberry Conserve and Rodda’s Cornish Clotted Cream on the table.

 The aim of the day is to encourage as many people as possible who have a passion for baking to get together with family and friends to help beat last year’s fundraising total of over £171,000

 This year we are delighted that Master pâtissier and Afternoon Tea author Eric Lanlard will be supporting National Cream Tea Day; Eric said: “As a huge fan and curator of many Afternoon Teas across the UK and all over the world, I’m delighted to support National Cream Tea Day this year. I’ve been having cream teas since I was a little boy, in my home town of Plomelin, Brittany – a region often named ‘the French Cornwall’.

 “Over a hundred charities benefitted from the Tiptree jam and Rodda’s cream donations in 2017 and we hope even more people will be involved in 2018.”  

 Scott Goodfellow, joint managing director of Wilkin & Sons Ltd, commented: “We were amazed and delighted by the number of people who were able to share a cream tea together while raising funds for charities, all thanks to the Cream Tea Society.



The Little Scarlet Music Festival - July

Nearly 1000 people enjoyed the music and the sunshine at the third Little Scarlet Music Festival on the farm at Wilkin and Sons in Tiptree. The Festival is a local event to thank the community for their support during the year.  This year six bands entertained the crowd:   Chopper 4, Band of Fools, Pet Needs, Hobo Chang, The Kopy Katz and the headliners were Frisco Monk.

A “busk stop” presented budding musicians with the opportunity to show off their talent in a sing along with local band Sound Mirrors in accompaniment.

KYDS, the local youth drama society opened the main stage, performing a song from their recent production 'Oliver'.

 ‘Gunpowder Gertie’ entertained the children with her wonderful interactive show, whilst the adults could sample a Gin Spritzer from The Gin Rummy Bar. Freshly picked strawberries were enjoyed in the sunny weather, and Meeleyhoops encouraged all ages to try hula-hooping! Local firm Millin’s provided the hot dogs and burgers and Colchester based ‘The Chickpea Company’ provided delicious curry.

 Joint Managing Director Chris Newenham thanked everyone who attended and those who helped to organise the event raising valuable funds for The Child Growth Foundation – (research fundraising and supporting children, adults and families dealing with rare growth conditions) and the Friends of Columbus School & College (raising funds for fun experiences and days out for pupils with special needs.)

 Tiptree on TV – Robotics the future of picking? – August

 Tiptree farm is working with Essex University on their research into the use of robotics for picking strawberries.  This early stage of research was filmed by BBC TV for Look East and appeared on several news bulletins on Thursday 16 August.

 Look out for Andrey explaining the split second decisions made by our pickers as they evaluate each berry to see if it should be picked or left to ripen for another 24 or 48 hours. 

 Science Correspondent Richard Westcott and his cameraman Mark filmed on the farm and in the factory at Tiptree before investigating the latest robotic development at the university.  Robotic use is a challenge but it will be many years before it takes over from the experience and sharp eyes of our great team of pickers.

 Fruit & Grain Trail for The Bakers - August

 In July we welcomed members and guests of The Worshipful Company of Bakers on their “Master’s Day Out” when they visited Tiptree and Cressing Temple to follow our Fruit and Grain Trail.  The Master, HH Stephen Kramer QC, brought members and their guests to discover more about fruit growing from Chris Newenham, joint managing director, who took them on a trailer of discovery round the farm; there was a long stop tasting strawberries!

 Entering the New Growing System (NGS) there was a huge amount of interest in the innovative system where alternate troughs of strawberries can be raised and lowered to allow space for picking, while maximising the growing space. This NGS is a first for strawberries the UK and is very effective.  Tally Flack then guided the group round the museum and highlighted some of the more unusual pieces of equipment such as the very old cherry stoner.

 A short cross country route took us all to Cressing Temple Barns, the oldest timber framed barns of this size in Europe and probably the world.  After a hearty ploughman’s lunch farmer and countryman, Robert Bucknell, spoke about the history of the Knights Templars and their relationship with the City of London.  The Bakers were particularly interested in the history of cereals from the early grains of more than 2,000 years ago to a sample of the previous day’s harvest.  After a day of fruit and grain there was time to relax in the walled garden with the camomile seat, running water and traditional garden plants that thrive under the care of the gardener and volunteers. 

 No visitor to a Tiptree tea room can escape without enjoying a special cream tea and we celebrated the day with a welcome glass of Raspberry Gin Fizz.

 We have strong links with The Worshipful Company of Bakers through Caroline Kenyon of the Bread Awards who is a member of the Company, and it was thanks to Caroline and the staff from the farm and the tea rooms that everyone had a day to remember.

 Thankfully we were blessed with a warm day and cooling breeze 




Judging day at the Tiptree Bread Awards - September

 Bakers from across the country delivered their treasured loaves to Westminster Cathedral Hall this morning ready for an afternoon of judging.  The time and effort the bakers put into making their amazing loaves – sourdough, white bread, fruit bread, gluten free, bread with malt and the Tiptree Showstopper – was reflected in the time and effort put into judging every entry. 

 Each class has a lead judge who receives a brief on how each loaf should be assessed, this is not a quick cut and taste; it is a lengthier process as each team of judges takes time to consider the appearance of a whole loaf, the smell, the colour, the crust before they are allowed to cut into the loaf and consider the qualities and taste of the crumb. The initial marks are then reviewed and agreed, it all takes time.

 Caroline Kenyon, director of the Tiptree Bread Awards, instigated the event six years ago; the reputation of the Awards has grown so that they now attract even more great bakers and foodie people who give up their time and share their expertise to judge an exceptional array of loaves.

 Thank you bakers and we wish you success when the results are announced in October.


New winter fill reservoir

Walter Scott, chairman joined Philip Stacey, whose team constructed the new winter fill reservoir, and Andrey Ivanov, farm manager as they planted trees to mark the completion of the new reservoir.  Lying in one of the driest parts of Essex sourcing sufficient water for the fruit crops has always been a concern so this additional reservoir is a welcome asset for the farm and for wildlife.

The RAF Centenary marked with new RAF Heritage Canister November

 Every November a representative from the Royal British Legion sits quietly in the entrance to the visitors’ centre at Tiptree selling poppies.  Their unassuming presence is a reminder of some of the local people who lost their lives in conflicts across the world. 

 This year marks 100 years since the end of the First World War and a special display of model aircraft, created by our sign writer Arnold, is a reminder of the planes that flew from local airfields in wartime, including Stowe Maries.  To mark the centenary a commemorative RAF Heritage Canister has been produced containing a jar of Tiptree Strawberry Conserve.  The illustration on the canister shows a message being dropped from an aircraft into the field near the factory, the message is revealed on the canister: “send more jam….” Lieutenant Milburn; naturally Wilkin & Sons obliged.  One of the slings that carried the messages can be seen in the Tiptree Jam Museum; just look up!

 The RAF Heritage Canister and the RAF Trio box of preserves, which has images of aircraft past and present are available from the Tiptree Jam Shop, CO5 0RF and the RAF Association online shop at



Introducing Arthur and Charles – the “new” boilers   - December

Reducing energy use & emissions while powering the jam factory

 Creating the steam to cook the jam in the Tiptree factory has been a challenge for over 130 years.  The boilers introduced by Mr Arthur Charles Wilkin in 1911 used coal, they were later replaced by oil and now the latest installation in the new Energy Centre which was unveiled by Mr Peter Wilkin in December 2018, is fuelled by gas.

 Peter Wilkin, named the two new boilers “Arthur” and “Charles” as a tribute to his great grandfather, the founder of the business.  As Peter welcomed the guests he said, “I want to thank you for your contribution to the development of this energy Centre; the first time in the history of the company that all these services will be under one roof.” Reflecting on the changing skyline he reminded everyone that chimneys are getting shorter, as in his youth the factory’s brick chimney was 120ft high, this was taken down in the 1980s when the first gas boilers were installed.  Peter concluded, “It gives me a great deal of pleasure to declare this facility open,” as he unveiled the special plaque to mark the occasion.  Many of the staff from the factory were able to explore the new boiler house that will be providing power for their boiling pans.

 “The construction of the new Energy Centre, behind the jam factory, has been designed to minimise the fuel we burn and reduce emissions while maximising the savings we can make by: the introduction of solar panels, innovative LED lighting, heat recovery and ultra-efficient air compressors in the new centre,” said Chris Newenham joint managing director.   “This investment marks the start of the next exciting chapter of our business.”  

 Clarifying the technical specification of the new centre, Ian Clark, who had been responsible for overseeing the energy centre project explained: “Our new Bosch boilers which are 97% efficient, should see carbon dioxide emission reduce by up to 350 tonnes each year. Three new energy efficient air compressors will reduce the energy required for compressed air by over 20% reducing our carbon dioxide emissions further by more than 30 tonnes every year. Heat recovery is also being evaluated to effectively utilise the heat generated from the compressed air process.

 “The new energy centre is positioned to reclaim as much waste heat and steam condense as possible once the new production hall is constructed. It is not possible to quantify all of the potential savings at this stage.  The Solar panels on the energy centre roof will have an output of 60kW and an anticipated reduction in our carbon dioxide emissions of a further 30 tonnes every year.”

 When the new coal fired boilers were introduced in 1911 the Wilkin family were already producing a wide range of products made with fruit grown on the farm.  Order forms from 1911 reveal an extensive list of products including:  conserves, marmalades, fruit in syrup, bottled fruit for tarts, table jellies, fruit cheeses, Crystalized and Glace fruits, sauces and pickles. They refer to: “Cherry Conserve Morello:  As supplied to Her Majesty the Empress of Russia.  At the time a customer wrote “I had some last year sent to Shanghai and it was excellent and not spoiled in the least by travelling.”