I came across this photograph in the back of an old diary and on the cusp of launching our new website it seemed like an appropriate time to look back to 2001 with a bit of bleary eyed nostalgia. This was literally the beginning for England Preserves. Tiny batches made on a domestic stove in our flat in Wood Green. Hand written labels and early mornings at the farmers' market.

Although still a small business, we have come a very long way and when I see this photograph perhaps it was Kai's literal wide eyed enthusiasm that kept us going.  I remember, in 2001, leaving my job to begin to build stocks to attend our first market. The decision must have been taken on a whim because I remember my dad calling for a chat. "How's work", he asked. "oh I've given that up", I replied, "Kai and I are starting our own business, selling jam". Not sure that he was totally convinced a few days later I received a parcel containing a cheque for £50 and photocopies of the preserve sections of my grandmother\'s editions of Larouse Gastronomique, Mrs Beaton and Eliza Acton. So we had a start up fund and a reference resource.

We attended our first Farmers' Market in Ealing with a stall improvised from our dining table and a bed sheet. It was an experience not unlike falling in love. The appreciation that almost bubbled over from the customers. The hard working, dedication of the farmers. Being surrounded by amazing produce. It was an inspiring place to begin a business.

From that beginning, Kai and I have never rested on our laurels. Confident that we were making the best preserves available, we have constantly worked to improve our recipes with what can only be described as an obsessive zeal. At the beginning they could have been quite dramatic changes. As we have perfected our craft the changes become more subtle. A tweaking of the texture. A slight adjustment to sugar fruit ration for a certain variety of fruit. Always aiming to create the perfect recipe that lets the fruit shine through and is a heady indulgent delight at the breakfast table.

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