Tiptree plans for Tea Room re-openings
3rd July 2020
We are pleased to confirm that from Saturday 4th July we will be reopening the below Tiptree Tea Rooms for dining and takeaway:
Tiptree, Heybridge Basin, Saffron Walden, Chelmsford, Osea & Barleylands
From Monday 6th July we will be reopening the below Tiptree Tearooms for dining and takeaway:
Writtle, Dedham, Cressing & Southwold
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 menu, there will be something for everyone to enjoy. View our menus here.
We will of course be adhering to government guidelines on social distancing and safety procedures instore.
We look forward to welcoming you back.
National Cream Tea Day – virtual & Reality
3rd July 2020
The Cream Tea Society’s special day stimulated comments, videos and chats on social media with amazing images of scones, jam and cream being enjoyed across the world.
The day started with a Phil Khoury, Harrod’s pastry chef, introducing an unusual way of making scones giving them time to rest and rise, resulting in an extra fluffy scone – perfect for the jam and cream. His early video was timed to catch viewers in Australia as well as the UK and by Monday night it had 12k views; a huge “thank you to Phil and to our colleague Marky at Mayers”.
James Hillery’s scone bake-a-long video showed the effort that goes into producing an eye- catching scone with Tiptree Conserve and Rodda’s Cornish clotted cream; for which we were very grateful. The day continued with Lavender and Lovage’s perfect afternoon tea, Jane’s Patisserie recipe, Juliet Sear’s video of a great scone, then a conversation with Nick Rodda and Scott Goodfellow about the art of making clotted cream and the skill in picking fruit and making Tiptree Little Scarlet Conserve.
Many people found an opportunity to share a cream tea some virtually and some in reality including the staff working in the jam factory who were given a surprise cream tea box to take home at the end of their shift (image: Tracy & Danielle from Wilkin & Sons). Although charity fundraising events have been postponed we were delighted that people at The SW Children’s Hospice, Haven Hospice at Southend and St Helena Hospice at Colchester were able to be part of National Cream Tea Day.
At the end of a busy day it was time to indulge in a cocktail making session with Chloe McGrath showing ideas for using Tiptree spirits and Rodda’s cream in some delicious cocktails – cheers!
Tiptree World Bread Awards – do you know a Bread Hero?
30th June 2020
Tiptree World Bread Awards with Brook Food usually celebrates the loaf with hundreds of loaves being assessed by esteemed judges. This year the Awards will recognise the people behind the loaf: the bakers, millers, farmers and all others closely involved, and will be called the ‘Tiptree World Bread Awards Heroes with Brook Food’.
Caroline Kenyon, Founder of the Awards, said ‘the bread community has undertaken many wonderful initiatives to help us all get through difficult times. Whether delivering bread to the vulnerable, milling flour 24 hours a day, educating or giving out free sourdough starters for home bakers. The Awards want to shine a light on and celebrate this.’
Nominations for Tiptree World Bread Awards Heroes with Brook Food can be submitted via www.worldbreadawards.com where a full list of the award sponsors can be seen. A nomination can be made by the nominee themselves or by a third party. The Awards are looking for stories that show the nominated Bread Hero's impact on their community, their reach, how they may have innovated, their generosity of spirit and their care for the wellbeing of others.
There will be regional Bread Hero winners and from those regional winners will be drawn one Overall Winner of the title ‘Tiptree World Bread Awards Hero with Brook Food’. All the winners will be announced during an Online Awards Evening on Tuesday 13 October 2020.
Do you know a Bread Hero? Submit your nomination via www.worldbreadawards.com. Submissions close Sunday 23 August 2020.
'Virtual' National Cream Tea Day
26th June 2020
Sharing a cream tea in a garden or watching a virtual cream tea will be a chance to lift some spirits this Friday 26th June.
- Phil Khoury, Harrods Patisserie chef, shares his tips and tricks to make a perfect scone,
- Juliet Sears a baking expert from ITV will host a tutorial on Instagram and then
- Cream tea chat with Nicholas Rodda & Scott Goodfellow on Live Instagram
- Chloe McGrath from Essex will be creating great cocktails to complete the day.
The British tradition of sharing home-made scones spread with strawberry jam topped with Cornish clotted cream has grown since Wilkin & Sons, makers of Tiptree preserves, and Rodda’s, makers of Cornish clotted cream, established The Cream Tea Society five years ago; their aim was to donate 50,000 portions of jam and cream to charities each year. This year many fundraising events have been put on hold but we hope some will events will take place later in the year to boost charities’ funds.
Scott Goodfellow, Joint Managing Director: “This year, National Cream Tea Day will take in a slightly different format but we will celebrate virtually and have some great online activities lined up. This date is a highlight in our calendar, I usually pop into one of our Tiptree Tea Rooms to enjoy a Cream Tea on the day, but this year, I will be partaking in my garden.”
“We hope to build upon our strong links with Rodda’s to reach even more people this year and to encourage yet more people to participate and to raise funds, sharing their memories with us through social media.”
So, whether you serve your scone with jam or cream first, everyone is invited to join in to raise money for a worthy cause of their choosing in the UK and overseas.
Be a part of the day by following @creamteasociety on Facebook and Instagram, or using the hashtag #nationalcreamteaday. For more information on the day visit www.creamteasociety.co.uk
135 years of jam making at Tiptree
18th June 2020
2020 marks 135 years of jam making at Tiptree; it was in June 1885 that Mr. Arthur Charles Wilkin made his first batch of Strawberry Conserve from strawberries grown on his farm, a tradition that continues today. During the 135 years everyone in the Wilkin family have seen the company overcome great difficulties and celebrate amazing achievements. The highlights have included three royal visits: H.M. The Queen (2010), HRH Princess Alexandra (1985) and TRH the Earl & Countess of Wessex (2020).
Throughout these years the farm has been at the centre of the business and while innovation has ensured increased crop production, more efficient use of water and easier picking levels, it is the actual taste of the fruit that will always be of prime importance. Our library of images take us through 100 years of picking with girls wearing long dresses as they gathered black currants, enthusiastic farm workers returning from the fields piled into a tractor trailer, picking Little Scarlets at the annual Strawberry Races through to the innovative Tiptree New Growing System opened in 2016.
The innovation on the farm is reflected in the changes in the factory – at one time teams men in flat caps and women with long aprons worked at the open boiling pans, one of these pans can be seen in The John Wilkin Collection at the Jam Museum. The photograph of the flat capped men sorting crates of oranges from Seville was probably taken in the 1920/1930s, the apparel may have changed but the Crate Room name continues; it is the room where all the fruit is washed and checked by hand as it enters the factory before being prepared for the boiling room. The open boiling pans of the 1900s have mostly been replaced by small copper lined boiling pans where batches of jams and marmalades are cooked for a precise time to retain the maximum flavour.
As exporters for 135 years the mini jars of Tiptree marmalades and jams can be found on breakfast tables across the world. Historic order forms show conserves (made with home grown fruit), preserves (made with fruit from another source), bottled fruit and other unusual items that were sold direct to individual consumers in the UK and overseas. Direct sales ceased during war time when rationing was introduced but online home sales have shown a rapid increase during 2020, a circle of sales.
Farming requires long term planning, some strawberries that will crop in 90 days and in contrast we have mulberry trees that were planted more than 100 years ago. The company’s marketing strategy reflects tomorrow’s trends and changes in tastes as new products are introduced: slim bottles of Tiptree Tomato Ketchup, fashionable Salted Caramel Spread organic preserves, reduced sugar jams, fruit juices and an increasing range alcoholic products including the very popular Tiptree Strawberry Gin Liqueur.
The tradition of providing homes for many of the staff helps to build the community feeling and the company has always taken an active part in village life supporting projects and assisting charitable enterprises. Some of those special events have been capture by television and press reporters to share across the UK and overseas.
The royal connection has always been important to the company and to customers across the world and we are proud to have held a Royal Warrant continuously for over 100 years. An accolade that appears on every jar: “By appointment to Her Majesty The Queen purveyors of Tiptree products”.
Stars in the field - The Tiptree Strawberry Race
9th June 2020
This year we are reflecting on some of the celebrities and guests who have helped raise funds for charities at this very unusual race: The Tiptree Strawberry Race. The Little Scarlet strawberry is really the star of the day and the race is a chance to find fastest/best picker of these tiny berries; but for those who are less dexterous there is still a chance to win a prize with the best costume reflecting the theme of the race. For our traditional pickers this is just a short break from their usual routine of early morning picking.
We have been fortunate to host several television personalities at the Tiptree Strawberry Race include: Jimmy Doherty, Vicki Michelle (‘Allo ‘Allo), Helen McDermott (ITV Anglia), Babs Powell & Hannah Waterman, Graham Cole (from Dr Who), Holby City stars Tom Chambers and Rebecca Grant, X-Factor stars plus guest appearances from cricketers: Darren Gough and Ronnie Irani as well as some enthusiastic London chefs – we are grateful for their support. Judging the best dressed picker and the best hats is a challenge for the celebrities. It was fun to see an array of lavish hats bobbing along the strawberry fields as pickers crouched on the ground to pick the fruit; but this is changing as the fruit is now grown on table top height – making it quicker and easier to pick. One year our special guest was a replica Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, this was the most popular ride of the day.
The original idea of the Tiptree Strawberry Race was to have an hour of fun in the strawberry field and create media interest while raising funds for charity; over the years donations have been given to: Essex Air Ambulance, Essex Wildlife Fund, Essex Hospices, Local Playgroups, Brainwave, Lord Taverners (giving young people a sporting chance), RABI, Aspire (helps people with spinal injuries), Farleigh Hospice, RAF 100, Royal British Legion, Helen Rollason Cancer Charity and towards a local pensioners’ lunch to mark H M The Queen’s 90th birthday.
While we will miss the fun of this year’s Tiptree Strawberry Race the Little Scarlets will still be picked ready to be driven across the field to the jam factory where they will be made into our finest of Tiptree conserves.
Tiptree Recipes and Top Tips at your fingertips
7th June 2020
We have added some of our favourite recipes and serving suggestions to our website, check out the 'Recipes' tab on our homepage and get creating!
Don't forget to tag us in your photos online using #tiptree
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.
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. www.tiptree.com
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!
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 registration:www.worldbreadawardsusa.com
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.”