Two fruit-farming couples are reaping the rewards of their business ideas, thanks to a pair of grants from the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
Janet and George Saunders have expanded their roadside stall in Worcestershire into a shop selling locally-grown produce across the region.
Mrs Saunders helped her mother and step-father sell local produce from a stall when she was a girl in the 1950s.
In 1978, the couple set up their own stall and cafe in a lay-by on the A38 at Copcut, just south of Droitwich, and it became a familiar stop for drivers using the busy road.
With the help of a grant of just under £20,000 from the Rural Enterprise Scheme - delivered by the Rural Development Service - the Saunders have moved from temporary buildings into a modern farm shop, selling vegetables, flowers and garden furniture.
Mrs Saunders said: "When we started out, we were selling our own home-grown produce - mostly strawberries, beans and sprouts.
"Over the years the business has kept growing and we have built up a regular clientele. But we were still operating the roadside cafe and shop out of a caravan. This imposed a limit on how much we could sell and what stock we could keep in the store."
Their aim is to sell as much local produce as possible.
"Small growers often find it difficult to find an outlet to sell through and we are ideally placed to help, especially with shoppers increasingly asking for locally grown food."
Another RES grant has helped a Herefordshire couple create a luxurious holiday getaway out of a log cabin.
Quarry Lodge, at Little Verzons Fruit Farm, near Ledbury, is a holiday hideaway that blends in to its secluded rural setting, while containing all the mod-cons of an upmarket chalet.
Peter and Julie Viner had already built up a successful 34-acre fruit farm and teashop when they decided to diversify further with the creation of the cabin. It was part-funded by a £39,000 Defra grant.
Mrs Viner said: "It became obvious from questions of visitors to our shop and tearooms that there was a demand for self-catering accommodation."
"Hereford, Ledbury, Rosson-Wye, Worcester and Cheltenham each host events bringing visitors to the region and we are well-placed to serve that trade, as well as people just looking for a relaxing break from fast-living."
She added: "We had already planned to construct accommodation but achieving that goal was some way off until we received part-funding. Now we're up-and-running and open for the 2005-6 season."
The Rural Enterprise Scheme is aimed at helping farmers adapt to changing markets and develop new business opportunities.
For more information on the scheme, contact the local Rural Development Service office or go to www.defra.gov.uk