Kate Thornhill & Iain Mackenzie

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Life is sweet when you make jam for a living! Perthshire Preserves create award-winning jams, jellies, marmalades and chutneys using locally sourced ingredients which get our taste buds tingling! Owned by Iain Mackenzie and Kate Thornhill, they supply quality produce to the likes of Gleneagles Hotel plus a wide range of other local B&B’s. Their market now stretches as far as Germany and Canada!

It’s always busy but they are passionate about what they do and when they had a spare few minutes, we managed to catch up with them both to find out more about their work and what they like to get up to with their time off!

What does a typical day at work look like for you?

We start work early in the morning and work until we have finished that day’s tasks (which we plan on a Sunday evening). On a jam day, we sort out which fruit we are going to use. We only use Scottish berries with most of them coming from Perthshire and these days it comes frozen which we find makes better jam.  The jars are hand-filled and once the batch has cooled down we label it and it’s ready for the next market or for delivery. We supply guest houses, B&B’s and also Gleneagles Hotel, farm shops and delis.  We also provide our jams to shops in Germany and Canada!

What signals the start of your weekend / days off?

What are days off? At the weekends, you will find Perthshire Preserves at Perth Farmers Market (1st Saturday), Aberfeldy Market (1st Sunday – through the summer), Kenmore Pop-up Market (2nd Saturday through the summer) Logierait (4th Sunday) and every Sunday we have a stall at Stockbridge Market, Edinburgh!

What might people be surprised to know about you?

Kate: We were both Hotel Managers – Iain at sea for 20 years with Cunard Line and myself in a number of hotels in England and latterly in Scotland.

Top of your bucket list?

Iain: We want to head to South America and visit Chile, and also we want to cycle the length of the British Isles.  Kate wants to climb the highest mountain in Portugal, Mount Pico, which is actually in the Azores.

Worst job you’ve ever had?

Kate: Iain’s Assistant Personnel Manager in a five-star Scottish Hotel!

Who or what inspires you?

Iain: My hero was Nelson Mandela, who I met on the QE2 when he sailed from Durban to Cape Town. I also admire Neil Armstrong, who has been to a very special place and returned safely.

Tell us about the weekend you’d love to live again?

Kate: The time we went to Tobago in the Caribbean and just chilled out after a long year making jam! We did nothing except drink rum and watch the sun going down each evening, with the waves lapping on to the beach.

What’s the best part about your job?

Kate: Getting to meet our lovely customers is great and many of them have become friends over the years.

What’s in the perfect day off breakfast?

Iain: Kate’s favourite is warm croissants and a lovely berry jam or delicious marmalade, served with coffee and some fresh fruit.

Mine is Huevos Rancheros – a special Breakfast fit for a King.

Complete this sentence; the best things in life are….

Making other people happy, watching nature close up and being with our kids!

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