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 (the lady on the left in the black & white 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 32 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.
Keeping up with the pace of social media, we launch our Instagram account and make our first post.
Our labels move with the times and are given a fresher look without losing our traditional gingham.
A 90th birthday definitely needs celebrating and Mr Darlington celebrated in style. Such an incredible young gentleman, still coming into work every day and always with a story and a joke to tell.
A very special lady celebrates a very special 80th birthday. Mrs Darlington, always a smile and a kind word and always willing to bake a cake for any occasion.
Embracing the nations love of ketchup, we launch three delicious sauces. Perfect partners for chips, salads or BBQs.
8th March 2020 marked the momentous 75th anniversary of VE day. We chose a special way to commemorate with limited edition VE versions of two of our bestselling lines, Legendary Lemon Curd and Strawberry Jam. We donated 10p from every jar sold to the charity SSAFA, who provide invaluable support for today’s soldiers and their families.
It’s true, good things do come in small packages, with the launch of our exclusive mini jar range for the hamper market.
The Sunday Telegraph awards our mincemeat top marks in their shop bought mincemeat review and enquiries for our seasonal product hit an all time high.
Sarah Darlington is honoured with a British Empire Medal in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list for her services to charity. She received her medal from the Lord Lieutenant of Cheshire at a presentation and Mrs Darlington was extremely proud to be at the ceremony.
Two lots of TV excitement in one week! Channel 4’s, Steph’s Packed Lunch featured a selection of our family products, we were thrilled.
Later in the same week, Sarah appeared on ITV’s James Martin’s Saturday Morning and was interviewed by the high profile TV chef sharing our family story. He then made a delicious lemon meringue pie using our Legendary Lemon Curd.
To celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee we produced a set of three commemorative jars. A percentage from the sale of each jar went towards a donation to The Christie charity.
The Christie is one of the world’s leading cancer centres and is very close to our families heart. The donation was made to support ground breaking research at the hospital’s pioneering proton beam centre.