Marion Darlington started making her award-winning range of products in the 1980s. Now in her 70’s, Marion is still the ‘Mary Berry’ of recipe creation in the family firm – there are few to rival her skill in creating preserves and chutneys with such a fabulous homemade taste. However, one of those rivals might just be her eldest daughter Sarah – they’ve been working together for 27 years, so when we say on the jar ‘Made with Love’, we really mean it!
Marion still finds it hard to believe she went from making 100 jars a day of her Legendary Lemon Curd in the farmhouse kitchen to selling over 400,000 jars a year of this marvelous product today!
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A surplus of eggs from the family farm led Mrs Darlington to use them up by making batches of her homemade Lemon Curd. 100 jars was a typical day’s production!
She then sold the Lemon Curd on her egg round in the local towns and villages. The local Brownies collected jars and Marion’s daughters did the labelling after school for a princely sum of a halfpenny per jar!
With demand for Mrs Darlington’s now Legendary Lemon Curd increasing, Tom Darlington converted some of his farm buildings into a large kitchen area.
Marion employed her first member of staff (Janet is the lady in the old photo) and, to help pay her wages, Marion and Janet began making cheesecakes to sell to local pubs and restaurants.
Marion expanded her range to include her mother’s Sweet Apple Chutney recipe, Orange Marmalade, Lime and Orange Curds.
A friendly pickles firm in Manchester helped Mrs Darlington out by selling her some empty jars for all her new products.
Marion was approached by Mrs Wright, a fruit farmer from Lancashire, to see if she would buy their surplus fruit…so Marion began adding jams to her range.
Marion’s range was taken on by two large local garden centres, where they were spotted by some fine food wholesalers, who also decided to take on the range.
Ladies from the local village, who already collected eggs on the farm in the mornings, stopped a little longer and helped Marion and Janet meet demand. The range started to expand into more chutneys.
A stall in the Women’s Farming Union tent at the Cheshire Show was a huge success and started to spread the word further afield.
Marion’s daughter Sarah started working in the business, initially as a temporary stopgap that ended up lasting 27 years and counting!
As the farm buildings were struggling to cope, a big decision was made to relocate to Lancaster Fields, Crewe. Now there was room to expand the range to include many more delicious products.
Our first export order leaves to its final destination of Sweden, the start of many more to come with Bengt Siltberg at GastronoMileverantoren.
Sarah’s sister Wendy is tempted away from her corporate job and persuaded to use her marketing skills on the Mrs Darlington’s brand.
Our first shipments beyond Europe head out to the USA, Australia and New Zealand, along with a host of other countries.