Project bears fruit

31st January 2017

Two women have joined forces in a delicious venture to support charities like York Against Cancer.

Green-fingered Carole Wright has an allotment that groans with fruit each year and her friend Jennifer Winspear is expert at turning her produce into tempting jars of jam, chutney and marmalade for charity.

It’s a partnership that began after Jennifer took up cooking and preserving on her retirement from a career in the RAF and the customs service.  The hobby soon grew, with Jennifer selling her jams at table-top sales and coffee mornings to raise funds.

“When I was in the services I didn’t have much chance to cook,” said Jennifer. “It was all a mystery to me. Most people have been cooking all their lives, but to me it is still interesting and I enjoy doing it.”

Jennifer got to know Carole through their shared love of golf when both were playing at Heworth Golf Club. When they got talking about Jennifer’s preserving hobby, Carole realised she had an outlet for all her excess fruit, from rhubarb to blackcurrants and gooseberries to strawberries.

“I grow the fruit then Jen does all the hard work,” said Carole.

Each year the women choose local and national good causes to support, with more and more cash being made with every harvest. York Against Cancer and Age UK benefited during 2016, when more than £1,000 was made through the sales, supplemented by cash raised by Jennifer’s sister Kathleen Balding from the woollen cot and pet blankets that she crochets.

The women have added foraged ingredients like elderflowers to their repertoire and word is spreading about the preserves, with fruit being given to Jennifer and customers placing orders for favourite flavours. Rhubarb and ginger jam is particularly popular, possibly thanks to Jennifer’s approach to the recipe. “I always add double amounts of ginger,” she said.

Julie Russell, general manager of York Against Cancer, said the charity was delighted at the boost the women’s hobby had given to its funds. “It’s great that they have thought of us, and we love the idea that their fundraising has given pleasure to local people at the same time as doing them good.”