Christmas begins in March for Wilkin and Sons

Maldon and Burnham Standard: Ladies in the pudding room at Wilkin and Sons Ladies in the pudding room at Wilkin and Sons

The glorious festive aromas of spices, cinnamon and brandy butter fill the air – you wouldn’t think it was March.

That is when Christmas begins at the Wilkin and Sons factory, in Brook Road, Tiptree, as workers start making traditional plum puddings ready for December.

The marmalade season, which sees succulent oranges come all the way from Spanish city Seville, is over and the factory prepares for its next set of products.

Five ladies move into the pudding room, while the rest of the factory begins the fresh summer conserves – from strawberries and raspberries to green fig and rhubarb and vanilla.

The puddings, which range from an individual 112g pudding, a family-sized 414g pudding and a huge pudding weighing 908g, are all made by hand.

The factory can produce hundreds of them in a day - or about 200,000 in a year - but the process is largely the same as it would be at home.

The only stage done by machine is mixing the ingredients as one batch, which produces about 200 1lb puddings, which would take a lot of stirring and a strong arm.

Each box is signed by the person who finished and packed the pudding, such as Tracy Warren, who has been working at the factory for 22 years and supervises the pudding room.

Mrs Warren, 46, of Lansdowne Close, Tiptree, first visited the factory as a 16-year-old schoolgirl.

See this week's MBS for the full story.

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