Situated in the heart of Somerset, Sugar & Spice Preserves was formed in 2013 by the mother and daughter team of Jenny Webber and Sophie Redican. The company started as a homegrown passion but when the pair were served up a dollop of fate, they took the opportunity to turn their hobby into a fully-fledged business, with local produce at its very core.
Jenny: “It began in 2010 when Sophie tried her hand at vegetable growing. Her first season was an outstanding success but left her with the problem of what to do with all those vegetables so she started making chutneys. They were very popular with friends and family and made lovely Christmas gifts. I have a passion for cooking so added homemade jams, marmalades and curds, and the popularity grew. We started selling preserves to the public at my local village market in April 2012 to see whether there could be business potential.”
The idea of forming a company was discussed on many occasions but as both Jenny and Sophie worked full time, it went no further. Then fate stepped in and the rest, as they say, is history.
Jenny: “I was made redundant at the end of 2012 so it seemed the ideal opportunity to have a go at turning this hobby, which had rapidly become an all absorbing passion, into a business. We moved to Spaxton in 2013 and, having a good sized garden, we have planted soft fruit and fruit trees which are establishing well. Any fruit we need to buy in comes from local growers or orchards.”
Both Jenny and Sophie now dedicate most of their time to the business, which sees their kitchen-made produce sold at village shops, local farmers’ markets, food festivals, fairs, and fetes.
Jenny: “The company name is from the rhyme ‘sugar and spice and all things nice’ as when we started the business we also made and sold a selection of breads and gluten free foods, although these have since been discontinued. Our inspiration comes from growing up on home-cooked food which we hope others will enjoy and appreciate the quality products that home cooking produces.”
So why do Jenny and Sophie love Somerset?
Jenny: “We grew up in Bristol and always came to Somerset for leisure activities, such as cycling, walking, strawberry picking, and visiting Cheddar and it’s array of shops – particularly the cheese making and sweet making, it’s our annual treat!”