A FOURTH-generation farming family has taken its business in a brand new direction thanks to Government cash.
John and Ruth Dean, together with their daughters, Katie, 23, and Rachael, 21, are celebrating the opening of their new farm shop at Far Barsey Farm, Barkisland.
The shop has been helped with a grant from the Rural Enterprise Scheme run by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
It will open on the May Day Bank Holiday with a free tasting session.
The shop will sell a wide variety of local produce, from the Deans' own beef and home-made sweets, savouries and ready meals, to products from other regional food producers.
The Deans have been farming at Far Barsey, off Saddleworth Road, for four generations and trade as C Lumb and Son.
They switched from dairy to beef production last spring as income from their dairy business fell.
Ruth said: "We sat down as a family and discussed what our strengths and assets were.
"Farming is in our blood, but we wanted to pass a viable business on to the next generation, so we needed to diversify.
"We have a range of skills and experiences as a family and our former milking parlour offered over 1,000sq ft of usable retail space."
Ruth has a background in catering, John has retrained as a butcher and Rachael has worked in retail and is training in accountancy.
So the idea was hatched to open a farm shop in the converted milking parlour, selling home-produced beef and home-cooked cakes and pastries, as well as freshly prepared ready meals.
Rachael will run the shop on a day- to-day basis, Ruth will take care of the catering and John will do the butchery.
Alongside running her own business, Katie will help with the catering, as well as assisting in the shop.
The business is expected to employ two people full time and create up to five part-time jobs.
Peter Atkinson, from the Rural Development Service, said: "The farm shop not only provides extra employment for the area, it also enables the Deans to remain on the family farm and develop their business."