Somerset Wildlife Trust’s jam and jelly-making competition concluded on Sunday, October 12, with the announcement of the winner at the Wells Food Festival. ‘Jam mistress’ Vivien Lloyd awarded first place to Denise Wiltshire for her blackberry jelly, and named Lilian Romford’s crab apple jelly as runner-up. All entries were then enjoyed by around 200 people at the Cream of Somerset Vintage Tea Party in the Town Hall.
Highlighting what hedgerows have to offer
The members-only competition was run as part of the Wells Food Festival, and in order to qualify, entrants had to include fruits associated with hedgerows. Hedgerows form essential corridors for wildlife to travel between habitats, but have been removed at an alarming rate since World War II. The competition provided a unique way for the Trust to highlight what hedgerows have to offer both people and wildlife.
Vivien Lloyd, inspirational tutor and author on the subject of traditional preserves, judged the entries at her farmhouse, providing feedback and also contributing several jars of blackberry and apple jam for the cream tea. Vivien said: “There were a wide range of jams and jellies with some unusual flavour combinations. The winning jelly had a great colour and true blackberry flavour.”
Winner receives jam-making masterclass
The winner, Denise Wiltshire, who will receive a jam-making masterclass with Vivien, said: “I picked the blackberries from a hedgerow near Stogumber and the resulting jelly is, apparently, delightful. It was a pleasure to meet Vivien at Wells Food Festival; I'm grateful to her and the Trust for giving me the opportunity to attend a marmalade masterclass in November. I'm really looking forward to the day!” Denise is passionate about the work of the Trust, and recently took part in a Trust bat survey in Taunton as part of the new Routes to the River Tone project.
Wells Food Festival
Denise and Vivien were both invited to join the cream tea event. Anne Furniss of Wells Food Festival said: “The festival had a very successful second year, with over 7,000 visitors enjoying the markets, bars, street food, lunches, tea party and other events. The occasion was a real celebration of the quality of Somerset’s wonderful artisan produce.”
Wells Festival of Literature events took place the same day, and the Trust saw an excellent turnout for its wildlife-centred talks and debate.
Photo: Vivien Lloyd and Denise Wiltshire