Jam came my way unexpectedly, although it was Domestic Science (that dates me) I seemed to gel with at school. But it was not until 1989 my real career began in jam. This was when Hugh and I blew all our security to the wind, headed to the West Country, bought a small jam factory (Thursday Cottage), and began to make jam commercially. Well, commercial to us was 14 preserving pans (the sort you have at home), boiling day long from which we poured up to 3500 jars a day. Not bad eh!
It was during those jam industrious years I got to know and understand jam really well. We sold Thursday Cottage in 2002 to Wilkin & Sons, veteran jam makers, who continue to this very day to make those lovely pots of Thursday Cottage Marmalade, Jams and Fruity Curds in the Essex Jam Lands. Eleven years on I still work with The Company, keeping an eye on things, you could say.
Restless and seemingly redundant, it was Pip, my lovely daughter, who proffered my services to River Cottage to run a jam making course. Next, I was asked to write the River Cottage PRESERVES handbook; a wonderful and creative journey allowing me to examine and understand the many aspects of preserving fresh produce. The River Cottage CAKE handbook followed along a couple of related practical DVDS. I have also make regular appearances with Hugh FW in the ever popular and long running River Cottage TV series.
There is always something being potted up or baked in my kitchen. I demonstrate at foodie events and River Cottage open days www.rivercottage.net, and run several Preserving workshops throughout the year. I am a Patron of, and judge at The World Marmalade Awards www.marmaladeawards.com and am Patron of The Guild of Jam Makers’ www.jamguild.co.uk