Tom and Laura Sinnott are a dream to work with.
- Their products are fantastic – top quality, taste, varieties. And this from a picky fusspot.
- They tell the truth about their processes. With nationally available commercial jam brands, this is not always the case. I have been in their production kitchen on numerous occasions – the smells! – and I can verify that the only automated parts of the process is labelling. Real, whole fruit comes in the door, pots are stood over and stirred by hand, fabulous preserves in jars leave through the other side of the kitchen
- They are real people with children going to the local school who have major concerns about the world we are leaving to the next generation. They are more concerned with creating a sustainable legacy than with growing the business at all costs.
Tom has studied beekeeping and helps his father tend his hives near their home in Wexford. They know that without bees to pollinate fruit trees and plants, there will be no fruit (or veg, or cereal) and that bees are in big trouble. One third of our bee species in Ireland is threatened with extinction.
Laura and Tom already do all they can to source as much fruit as possible from local farmers and from those who don’t use pesticides (most of the citrus fruit sourced in Seville and Sicily is organic) but they want to do more to educate children especially about the plight of bees and what practical things can be done to help them. One of those things is to make the spaces around our homes, schools and workplaces more bee-friendly through the plants grown there and making sure there are nesting facilities for bees.
I worked with Tom and Laura to develop the Bee A Poet competition.
This promotion asks kids to write a short poem about bees for the chance to win a Bee Garden Kit for their school – including a Bee house, €100 worth of seeds, bulbs and plants that will nourish the bees and the instructions to set it up and maintain it.
The hope is that by sharing the poems that come in about bees we will be raising awareness of the issue and that by involving kids in the competition we will inspire them to encourage each of their families to take whatever action they can in their own homes to help protect our bees.
The celebrated author and broadcaster Éanna Ní Lamhna is on board as judge of the finalists.
This promotion is hopefully just the start of a purpose-driven campaign that will have a positive effect on the children who engage with it and their families. If the Wexford Home Preserves brand comes to mind more readily and in a good light when in the supermarket aisles, then that will be a help too because the world needs more food producers like Tom and Laura.
If you have kids, ask them to ask their teacher involved – all the details are here.