Top quality fruit kick-starts year
The arrival of tonnes of organic oranges and lemons have dispelled any notion of January Blues at jam and marmalade company, Wexford Home Preserves, whose ebullient owners have developed a thriving business using the freshest of organic sun-kissed fruit shipped in directly from Sicily and Seville.
Working with fresh fruit picked in late December owners Tom and Laura Sinnott returned to work in January to pallet loads of produce.
Having bought the business in 2008, which was 20 years in the growing by then, they have expanded their ranges to around 40. The award-winning company sells 30 per cent of their products in Dunnes Stores supermarkets and the demand for their marmalades, in particular, at this time of year, has been unprecedented. Supplying over 300 supermarkets and shops nationwide, the business - which employs ten people at their Waterford Road Business Park kitchens outside New Ross - has been growing its turnover by 15 per cent each year.
Laura said every part of the fruit is used. The oranges are sourced outside Seville, while the lemons are imported from Sicily where they are grown in botanical gardens. Cooked in saucepans in the traditional artisan way the company's founder, Tom's aunt Ellen did, they are poured into jars and delivered across the country.
The artisan products are mostly made by hand. Using a mix of bitter and sweet oranges, the marmalade range has been expanded to suit all tastes. 'We can only make a limited amount. It's really important to keep introducing new product ranges each year. We want to grow but in a way where we are still stirring pots rather than going down the full automation road,' Laura said.
The company produces an impressive 2,500 jars of preserves a day. Tom said: 'It's certainly an exciting time because we feel there is so much more we can do.' The company has bought a neighbouring premises and is changing its layout.
Money for jam, I think so!