The Wilkin family have farmed at Tiptree since 1757. The jam making business was founded in 1885 and today makes a range of premium food products including jam, jelly, marmalade, chutney, sauces and Christmas puddings
Grower: Chris Newenham
Address: Tiptree, Colchester, Essex CO5 0RF
Member since 2002 and LEAF Demonstration Farm since 2012
Certification: LEAF Marque
The Wilkin family have farmed at Tiptree since 1757. The jam making business was founded in 1885 and today makes a range of premium food products including jam, jelly, marmalade, chutney, sauces and Christmas puddings. The farm is around 350 hectares (865 acres) in and around Tiptree, growing a range of fruits including, strawberries, plums, cherries, raspberries, mulberries, quince and medlar. The farm also grows 200 hectares of combinable crops which are managed by a neighbouring farmer. A proportion of the fruit is grown under cover and use biological methods to control pests and diseases i.e. natural predators like Phytoseiulus and Amblyseius on crops to control harmful pests. When crop protection products are thought to be necessary, they are used sympathetically, always with biodiversity in mind and only ever as a last resort.
Grass strips have been established in the orchards and created wide margins around many fields to help reduce runoff and conserve moisture for crop development. Farming in an integrated way means that needs of each individual crop are regularly assessed, through careful crop monitoring, cultivations and crop selection; this also helps to keep the soil in good health.
Careful water management is essential for growing fruit in a sustainable way, and particularly so in this part of East Anglia – the driest area in the country. The farm has invested in highly efficient micro-irrigation systems for monitoring and controlling water and fertiliser use within crops; these allow targeted applications much more accurately. Much of the water for irrigation is recycled from the jam factory. Various projects are ongoing at Tiptree including a robotic harvesting solution, working with One World Carbon to understand carbon footprints and how to offset industrial use through the farm and installation of field scale solar new gas boilers.
Over the past few years thousands of native hardwood trees have been planted, several kilometres of native hedging and created scrapes for the benefit of wading birds such as lapwing, redshank and snipe.
Tiptree farms has hosted OFS since 2007 with many visits throughout the year, providing a comprehensive ‘Teachers’ Information Pack’ for Educational Farm Visits.
Visit this farm
Click here to arrange a visit to this LEAF Demonstration Farm.