PUBLISHED: 15:01 16 November 2010 | UPDATED: 18:10 20 February 2013
Essex produce brought to the plate by Thursday Cottage, Tiptree by Stephanie Mackentyre
IN 2002 Thursday Cottage was purchased by Wilkin & Sons.
Up until that point it had been run by Hugh and Pam Corbin from Somerset and the couple had grown the businesses into a nice-sized premium preserve manufacturer. Tiptree spotted the business and felt it would give them a product they could supply to farm shops, so the purchase was made.
Two-and-a-half years ago, Tim Came, the sales manager for Wilkin & Sons, took over as managing director of Thursday Cottage.
My role is to ensure we continue to produce lovely products and introduce some beautiful new ones too. I see myself less as MD and more as a custodian of the business.
Although Thursday Cottage is situated on the same site as the rest of the Wilkin & Sons products, its run very much as a separate entity and even has its own production line. All of our jars are filled by hand. We have four ladies filling and on a good day we can hand-fill 6,500 jars its really a labour of love. There are 14 staff in total and they prepare the fruit and weigh out the sugars, and then stir the open pans by hand working with 30 kilos of fruit at a time, a stark contrast to the mainstream jam production companies who would work typically with two or three tonnes of fruit in one go. We have a wonderful team which works extremely hard, adds Tim.
The company website asks for customer ideas and feedback and this input is used to research new product lines. The latest new product is a fruit coulis and the damson coulis has just been awarded Best Speciality Product for the Midlands and East Anglia by the Great Taste Awards, beating more than 6,000 other entries. We are obviously delighted, however the pressure is now on to produce even more delicious products, explains Tim with a grin.
Pam, the original owner of Thursday Cottage, still keeps a watchful eye on all the recipes. Pam the Jam, as shes known in the trade, works closely with Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall at River Cottage and she acts as our Jam Police, explains Tim. She samples all of our new products before we release them to the market and advises us of any adjustments.
The new range of coulis includes raspberry, gooseberry, elderflower and blackcurrant as well as the award-winning damson. The coulis can be used to enhance dishes as they are 80% fruit and only 20% sugar and can also be used for pouring over ice creams or pavlovas, stirring into yoghurt for breakfast and already theres plenty of interest from restaurants and chefs. We are considering producing the coulis for the retail market, says Tim.
Its not all fruit-based products at Thursday Cottage, theres also Christmas puddings and brandy and rum butters too, as well as the marmalades, jams and curds on offer. We want to always produce something beautiful, delicious and yet affordable, concludes Tim. We look to introduce new products every year, which keeps it exciting for consumers and retailers alike.
Stockists of Thursday Cottage products
Parkers Garden Co Frinton
Sarah Greens Organic Farm Shop
The Hall Farm
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