Back at the beginning of the 18th century, a farming family decided to take on the idea of fruit farming.

This choice propelled them into being an internationally renowned company which sells jam to almost a quarter of the work.

Their name – the Wilkins.

The Wilkin family have been farming in Tiptree since 1757.

Fruit farming in Tiptree involved growing the fruit, then taking it by horse and cart to Kelvedon railway station and from there on to London for sale at the markets.

When Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone commended fruit preserving to the population at large, Arthur Charles Wilkin leapt on this idea to finally make a success of farming.

In 1885, The Britannia Fruit Preserving Company was formed and the very first Tiptree preserves were made, all to be sold to a merchant who would ship them to Australia.

Within ten years, more than 200 tons of fruit was being produced, half of that used for making jam.

In 1905 the company was renamed Wilkin and Sons Limited to avoid confusion with 25 other companies trading as Britannia.

The opening of a rail link between Kelvedon and Tollesbury via Tiptree did much to help the business and encouraged population growth as travel became accessible to more and more people.

Over the years, the company bought and farmed much of the land surrounding the village and even strayed as far as Dagenham and Suffolk.

The company also made their mark in the war efforts during the First and Second World Wars.

In the First World War, 8,000 boxes of jam were sent to the front to boost morale together with the 73 employees who joined the armed forces.

On the home front in 1916, a Zeppelin passed over Tiptree with its crew throwing overboard equipment in a desperate attempt to gain height.

In the Second World War, there was a great shortage of labour and the very real threat of invasion and bomb damage.

In 1941 the company was forced to deal with retailers and forbidden to deal with the public directly.

However, after the war, the business once again began to flourish and by 1947 profits were at the highest.

The company makes dozens products including preserves, marmalades, honeys, sauces, condiments, fresh fruit, teas, cakes, biscuits, gift packs, gins, fruit juices, and even Christmas puddings.

Their signature fruit is the Little Scarlet strawberry, a tiny wild variety, that is very difficult to grow and to harvest.

Grown only at Tiptree, it is an unpredictable cropper that dislikes weather extremes and won’t keep once picked.

Crop shortages and rising demand mean that it can only usually be found in the second half of the year, after the June and July cropping season.

As such it is one of the most expensive and unique jams they produce along with a little-known mulberry conserve, sold in specialist food shops and seldom seen overseas.

Today, the farms in Tiptree and Goldhanger cover 850 acres, enough land for around 300 cricket pitches.

Fruit crops include strawberries, raspberries, mulberries, Morello cherries, rhubarb, damson, Victoria plum, greengage, quince, and the curious medlar.

The success of their spreadables has received attention numerous times from the Royal family.

Royal Warrants are awarded to certain individuals who have supplied the British Royal Family with high quality goods and services over many years.

They received our first Royal Warrant from George V in 1911, and each subsequent monarch has continued the tradition.

The company presently holds the Royal Warrant as purveyors of Tiptree Products to Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, who has made an appearance at the jam factory’s 125th anniversary.

Wilkin and Sons has also added businesses to their family over the years including Cole's Puddings, Jules and Sharpie, and Thursday Cottage.