THE finest farm retailers in the industry were crowned winners at a prestigious national award ceremony held to celebrate the very best.

Winners across seven categories were selected in the prestigious awards organized by the Farm Retail Association (FRA), which was formed in 1979.

It was a big night for one Devon business, Strawberry Fields in Lifton, which scooped two awards after impressing the judges with its stunning shopping space, impressive café, sustainability efforts and leadership from its passionate owners Laura and Adam Mounce.

The Farm Retail Awards 2020 are the only awards judged by fellow farm retailers and celebrate the best farm shops, farm cafés and restaurants, farmers’ markets and trade suppliers in the country. The award winners are:

CAFE/RESTAURANT OF THE YEAR: Strawberry Fields, Lifton, Devon: According to judges “The food hall and restaurant would not be out of place in Harrods!”

LARGE FARM SHOP OF THE YEAR: Strawberry Fields, Lifton, Devon: Judges were impressed by the amazing shopping space, the sustainable way the business generated energy and the can-do attitude from the leadership team.

RISING STAR OF THE YEAR: The Farm, Stratford- upon-Avon, Warwickshire. The judges cited the “wow factor” of the magnificent food hall and highlighted the enthusiastic team members and efforts towards sustainability.

SMALL FARM SHOP: Canalside Farm Shop, Great Haywood, Staffordshire. Judges said its passionate owner cared “deeply about the quality of its products, the customer experience and sustainability.”

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT: John Sinclair, Craigies Farm Shop, Edinburgh. This recognises John’s service and loyalty to FRA and the farm community. His work locally with the education sector has ensured thousands of children have visited Craigie's farm, inspiring the next generation to follow in his enormous shoes.

SUPPLIER OF THE YEAR: Open Retail Solutions, Nottingham, which was praised for its high standard of customer service.

FARMERS MARKET: Shipbourne Farmers Market, Kent. Judges praised the welcoming and relaxed feel and the friendly and happy stallholders.

Chairman Rob Copley said: “What a terrific evening celebrating the very best farm retailers in the industry and bringing together the cream of the crop under one roof. The competition was tough, the calibre was high and to win an award is real accolade and testament to the incredible quality of the business.”

The award ceremony was part of the annual industry conference at the Nottingham Belfry.

This was the first conference and award dinner to be organised by new managing agents the Yorkshire Agricultural Society, which took over the running of the association in the summer.

The FRA is open to thousands of independent retailers across the UK and offers its members support, training, workshops and open days.