Granny Marmalade - preserving a family tradition
PUBLISHED: 00:00 10 February 2014
An actress from Ramsbottom has changed the course of her career and moved from the stage to the kitchen, writes Paul Mackenzie
When Jemima Frith got in a jam trying to tell apart her grannies, mum Nikki renamed the little girl’s great grandmother Granny Marmalade in honour of the preserves she made. Years later, that is now the name of Nikki’s young and thriving business which is using Granny’s old family recipes.
‘As soon as I said it I thought it would be a great name for a brand so I went round and she taught me how to make her three fruits marmalade,’ Nikki said. ‘She had learned these amazing recipes from her mum and made incredible marmalade which she gave away to friends and family.
‘I had never made marmalade before but she showed me how to do it and I started to do some research into the market. I found there was a gap in the market for a bright contemporary brand of preserves with a traditional name and adding a bit of colour on the shelves.’
Having been given the blessing of Granny Marmalade herself – 86-year-old Marjorie Richardson of Leigh – Nikki tested her creation at the Ramsbottom Farmers’ Market in October 2011 where they went down very well. She has since sold jars at Christmas markets and has had her products added to the shelves of more than 30 local shops, delis and garden centres and some stores further afield. And this month jars of Granny Marmalade products will be added to the shelves of 25 Booths stores.
As demand grew Nikki enlisted the help of friend Lindsey Oldroyd from Tottington and the pair now have a range of three preserves – three fruits, cinnamon and ginger – with plans to add two more flavours in the near future.
The women were inspired to make a go of the business after they both lost their mothers in the space of a few months. ‘That gave me a push,’ Nikki said. It was a timely reminder that life is short and it was a major reason we were so determined to make a success of it.’
The business is a far cry from Nikki’s previous work as an actress. Before her two children – Jemima, four and Henry, two – were born, she appeared in TV soaps such as Coronation Street and Hollyoaks and on stage. Her last role before parenthood and her change of career was in Six Characters in Search of an Author at the Lowry. She said: ‘I want to return to acting when the children are older and when the business is a success.
‘I decided I wanted a break and to do something else, something I was passionate about. I have always enjoyed cooking, although I had never made marmalade before and it is going very well. We were delighted to win Great Taste Award gold stars for our ginger and cinnamon marmalades.’
The Granny Marmalade preserves are now made in Garstang where there is the capacity to make larger quantities than were feasible in the family kitchen and Nikki added: ‘We want to increase the range and grow a brand which oozes quality and to build on the reputation we are developing.’