AN MP has visited a farm which recently marked its 30th anniversary selling children's toys from the site.

Richmondshire MP Rishi Sunak visited Southolme Farm at Little Smeaton, near Northallerton in North Yorkshire, to congratulate its owners who entered toy retailing in the midst of the Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) crisis 30-years-ago.

At the farm, Mr Sunak met with Neil and Belinda Metcalfe and the farm's employees.

Established as Adventure Toys Ltd in 1989, the pair started up the toy firm at a time when farm production was heavily impacted by the outbreak of the BSE crisis, also known as 'mad cow disease'.

Known as diversification, many farm businesses opened secondary businesses on its farms as a means to get by.

But deciding against the trend of other farms opening a B&B or farm shop on the site, Mr and Mrs Metcalfe established a rural toy shop, remaining in the trade ever since.

Mr Sunak said: “This is a very successful farm diversification business, and unlike any others I’ve come across.

"They didn’t take the obvious diversification options and have carved out a niche for themselves as a major toy retailer in this area."

Mr and Mrs Metcalfe began trading out of North Yorkshire with their website in 2000, which they said now accounts for between 75 and 80 percent of its business.

Mr Sunak added: "It is a excellent example of how a new business can get established, grow, adapt, and thrive in a rural location."

The toy shop stocks dolls houses, train sets, musical toys and features a creative play area.

There is also an acre-wide garden display area, where outdoor toys can be tried before purchase.

The shop's toys are from a variety of manufacturers and the shop now serves as service and parts operation for two major manufacturers.