Ditchling farm owners ‘over the moon’ to feature on national TV

The owners of a Ditchling farm were ‘over the moon’ to be recognised on national TV.

The Macs Farm featured on BBC One’s The Great Staycation – a series which reflects on the highs and lows of the holiday industry across England and why Brits are choosing to holiday at home.

Susie and Danny Macmillan (centre), with their five children, Dean, 29, Kelly, 26, Joey, 19, Evie, 14, and Cam, 16, and Susie's parents Liz and Peter Barton (behind)

Susie and Danny Macmillan (centre), with their five children, Dean, 29, Kelly, 26, Joey, 19, Evie, 14, and Cam, 16, and Susie's parents Liz and Peter Barton (behind)

For two weeks, a camera crew followed the Macmillan family as they launched a festival – Wild Meadows – as part of a bid to save their ‘failing’ egg farm.

“We were over the moon to be approached – it was just such a wonderful opportunity,” said Susie Macmillan, who runs the farm with her husband, Danny, 52, and their five children.

“To be recognised for what we really love doing is amazing.

“We can’t believe the amount of people who come through the door and how nice they are.

To be recognised for what we really love doing is amazing.

Susie Macmillan

“They really get that it is a family-run business and they are coming to support us.”

The farm’s TV debut, which aired on November 11, and can now be watched on BBC iPlayer, shows the farm buzzing with activity.

It is the third year hard-pushed organic egg farmers, Susie and Danny have opened their farm gates to campers.

It has been hard graft, but business is booming and every camping weekend and event is sold out.

The Macs Farm in Ditchling. Picture contributed

The Macs Farm in Ditchling. Picture contributed

Susie, who was crowned 2019 Farmers Weekly Poultry Farmer of the Year, told the Express that the farm’s success was down to having to ‘diversify’.

“We knew we had to make some changes,” she commented.

“We were lucky to break even this year – there are a lot of outgoings.

“We have been close to closing the farm before because you can see it getting tougher and tougher.”

The Macs Farm in Ditchling. Picture contributed

The Macs Farm in Ditchling. Picture contributed

The family’s entrepreneurial flair and the Brits’ love of a quirky staycation has saved the Macs’ farm, the BBC says.

And its camping, gin and groove nights, barn dances and sausage and cider nights are proving more popular than ever.

“It brings in extra money –we have had to learn a number of new skills – we are enjoying it,” said Susie.

She added: “The feedback has been so positive and incredibly supportive. That is what is so lovely when you can get your story out and people get it and the lengths we are going to get there.”

The Macs are a fourth generation organic egg farming family. Susie and Danny took over the farm from Susie’s parents, Liz and Peter Barton.

The family open their farm up to the public from Tuesday to Saturday for egg sales, every summer for camping, and throughout the year for family-friendly events.

The Macs Farm in Ditchling. Picture contributed

The Macs Farm in Ditchling. Picture contributed

Its Wild Meadows festival returns next September following the huge success of this year’s event.

There will be live music, local food and drink, chickens, nature and wildlife, fun-filled activities and more.

To find out more, visit www.themacsfarm.co.uk.

The Macs Farm in Ditchling. Picture contributed

The Macs Farm in Ditchling. Picture contributed

The Macs Farm in Ditchling. Picture contributed

The Macs Farm in Ditchling. Picture contributed

The Macs Farm in Ditchling. Picture contributed

The Macs Farm in Ditchling. Picture contributed