Food & Drink

Celebrating 50 years of Tracklements

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Written by Tim Barnes-Clay

From making mustard to jam, the award-winning Wiltshire food company are still going strong.

Tracklements, which describes itself as the ‘Curious Curators of Culinary Condiments’, is an award-winning artisan food company that has undertaken a remarkable journey since it was established in 1970 by William Tullberg.

At his home in Wiltshire, William was first inspired to make mustard whilst reading the 17th century diary of John Evelyn and coming across a recipe for wholegrain mustard. After initial trials, William adapted a coffee mill to grind mustard seed to help create the mustard. He sold a few jars to the local pub, complete with handwritten labels for The Original Wholegrain Mustard.

Wiltshire heart

Within two years, Tracklements had started to sell its mustard to Harrods and then set upon producing a range of mustards, pickles and savoury preserves, which it also began exporting to the outside world in 1992.

The company continued to introduce UK ‘food firsts’, like its highly-acclaimed Original Onion Marmalade launched in 1999, and to gain recognition, such as being named Speciality Producer of the Year in the 2007 Great Taste Awards. Today, the original mustard has matured into eight varieties and over 40 award-winning chutneys, relishes and sauces which are sold in 24 countries across the globe.

Throughout its 50-year food adventure, Tracklements has remained in the heart of Wiltshire. From its one-man origins in Urchfont near Devizes, it is now based at Easton Grey, outside Malmesbury and is run by William’s son, Guy Tullberg, who heads up a team of 50.  Although a lot has changed since 1970, what has not changed is that everything is still made in small batches, by hand, and using traditional recipes.

Inside the Tracklements headquarters are sacks and jars of the best natural ingredients – sultanas, mangos and apricots, fine sea salt, dried figs. All its preserves are also natural, using sugar and vinegar.

An underpinning principal for Tracklements is to buy the best-quality ingredients sourced locally wherever possible to ensure the products taste as good as, if not better than, homemade. Its sourcing policy is ‘first local, then regional, then national, but always the best’.

Community roots

Tracklements is not just dependent on the finest produce from British farmers, whether it’s carrots and beetroots from Wiltshire or apples from Kent, but also on spice growers from around the world to create its eclectic range of condiments from the tongue-tingling Fresh Chilli Jam to the Particularly British Piccalilli.  

Developing long-standing relationships with farmers and growers has also been important. Tracklements has used the same company to supply vinegar for 30 years, and it still employs the Suffolk mustard farmer enlisted back in 2003.

It is also forward-looking when it comes to sustainability. The business, which produces about 10,000 jars of condiments a day, minimises its environmental footprint through using recyclable packaging, its own water treatment facility, and over 10,000 square feet of solar panels, which enables it to generate 100 per cent renewable energy that is also fed into the national grid at weekends through green energy company Good Energy. Tracklements is determined to produce ‘planet-friendly pickles’.

Tracklements is also wholly committed to staying true to its community roots. For example, for more than 10 years children from local primary schools have been involved in a crabapple project – picking as many crabapples as they can to make Tracklements’ English Crabapple Jelly. For every kilo of crabapples they pick, 50p goes to the school, and 25p from each jar of jelly sold goes to a charity of the school’s choice.  

Likewise, local people are invited every autumn to donate fruit from medlar trees they might have growing in their gardens, which is then turned into Aromatic Medlar Jelly.

For every jar sold, 50p goes towards buying bee-friendly medlar trees in collaboration with the Bumblebee Conservation Trust.  In the same way that William Tullberg was inspired back in 1970, Guy and his team continue to rifle through recipe books, old and new, to seek their own inspirations and discover what new condiment might tantalise and tickle the condiment lover’s taste buds. The Tracklements’ food adventure continues.

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