Sue, Ardardan Estate, Near Helensburgh

Sue, Ardardan Estate, near Helensburgh

When did your farm diversify into tourism and in what way?

We’ve been here for 22 years and originally started as poultry farms, we sold eggs and had a small shop, which has developed into a larger shop/deli, garden centre and café. Our next step is the farm park attraction - which is still to come!

How has this benefited the farm as a business overall?

We wouldn’t be where we are if we hadn’t diversified the farm. Unfortunately, the farm on it’s own isn’t justifiable, moving into the tourism sector has been a main part of our income.

How did lockdown impact on the tourism aspect of your business?

We essentially came to a halt but managed to keep the shop opened partially, and provide deliveries to locals.

Tell me about the GoRural live farm visit?

It’s awesome! Caroline and the team have been so valuable to us. We saw that the site was getting lots of traction and interest so it was great to be able to show what we do. Everybody’s business is different and you can learn so much from each other.

How are things going now lockdown is lifting?

We’ve reopened our café and have converted our outdoor sheds into further seating areas.

I think it’s so important to have a focus on the mental health aspect as well, for both your visitors and staff, it can be a stressful time for lots of people.

Have you changed anything as a result of lockdown which you’ll continue with?

We’ve started to provide more fruit and vegetables as we’re seeing lots more people buying fresh products. We’ve also started offering takeaway coffee and cheese tasting boxes.

What impact does your business have in the community?

When we first came here it was derelict so it’s really brought it back to life. I’d like to think we are an integral part of the community with all the work we do with the locals and schools. And hopefully we’ve brought people to the area, that perhaps haven’t visited before.