Crusty bread and delicious jam: a perfect combination for the Tiptree World Bread Awards sponsored by Wilkin and Sons Limited, fruit growers and preservers, suppliers to Her Majesty the Queen Elizabeth II.
The combination of bread and jam reminds us of an afterschool snack, or neat slices of brown bread spread with Little Scarlet Strawberry Conserve or perhaps a hearty wedge of crusty bread with a layer of jam, the sustaining lunch for people working in the fields.
Tiptree, in the heart of the Essex countryside, has been the home of jam making by the Wilkin family for over 133 years. Many of the traditional practices have been retained: hand sorting the fruit, splitting the oranges by hand and removing the stem from each mulberry with tiny scissors. The next stages of jam and marmalade making take advantage of new technology and this helps the factory meet the increasing demands from consumers in over 60 countries. The factory and popular Visitors’ Centre are located right next to the farm.
Walking through the farm there is a chance to appreciate the changing seasons as the different crops blossom, fruit and then are harvested. In April the lush rhubarb is the first crop to be cut; in the distance rows of symmetrical posts and wires can be seen supporting the loganberry and dessert blackberry stems, while one of the most memorable sights in spring is the orchard of snowy white Morello cherry blossom. Local people have been given the opportunity to walk the paths of the estate taking them past rows of Little Scarlet strawberries, the heritage orchard and the ancient mulberries and medlars.
Part of the estate is still used for arable crops producing fine wheat that may be milled for flour.