This year there were 18,000 nominations from the public for the Countryside Alliance Awards, nicknamed the 'rural Oscars', across several regional categories..
The community-owned Exelby Green Dragon, near Bedale, was a winner in the regional Best Pub category, having been taken over by a committee of village residents who secured investment to re-open it after it closed in 2018. Rishi Sunak MP was among the first backers.
The judge in the class said: "The Exelby Green Dragon has come a long way since it was bought by the community in 2018. It offers a diverse array of services to match the diversity of the rural North Yorkshire community it serves."
Mr Sunak added: “I’m proud and delighted by this deserved recognition of the work done by the community in saving the Green Dragon and Tom and Becci Baker who do an excellent job of running the pub and the deli shop. This pub really is the hub for the local area and has been so throughout the last 15 difficult months.”
The Ainsty Farm Shop in Green Hammerton scooped the Yorkshire regional award in the Local Food and Drink Champion category.
The judge's comments were: "Not only is Ainsty Farm Shop filled with a wide variety of food, drink, produce, dairy, excellent baked goods, and quality meats, but Stewart, Lily and their entire staff go above and beyond to provide a warm, and welcoming environment."
Selby and Ainsty MP Nigel Adams added: “I would like to congratulate the team at the Ainsty Farm Shop on winning this prestigious award. The Countryside Alliance awards recognise local businesses for the services they offer and the range of local produce that they sell. The Ainsty Farm shop has an excellent range of produce and the award is well deserved. ”
Two Yorkshire businesses were crowned joint winners for regional Best Butcher.
Both Farmison & Co of Bondgate Green in Ripon and Glaves Family Butchers in Brompton-by-Sawdon, near Scarborough, scooped awards.
The Glaves family were described by the judge as 'having developed a small village butchers shop into a thriving, diverse enterprise with produce that exudes quality, is locally produced and is served with pleasant customer service at all times.'
Scarborough and Whitby MP Robert Goodwill said: “Glaves Butchers reputation has spread far and wide in the almost 50 years they have been supplying our community. One of their pork pies is, in my view, the greatest delicacy known to man! Every other pork pie I have eaten comes as a disappointment after eating one of Brian’s finest.”
Farmison & Co is an online butchers started by restauranteurs John Pallagi and Lee Simmonds.
"Through supporting small family farms, this online butcher not only delivers first class meat to your door but educates people about their meat. They give people a chance to realise that different breeds taste different and have different purposes,” remarked the judge.
Elsewhere in the Skipton and Ripon constituency and winning an award in the ‘Best Village Shop category’ was Dales Store in Birstwith, near Harrogate, owned and run by Matthew and Andrea Walwyn.
It was described as being a 'lovely village store and post office offering great service and produce' and the judge noted that they had fought hard to retain the post office services.
The final Yorkshire winner was Little Wold Vineyard in South Cave, near Beverley, which took a Rural Enterprise Champion award.
The judge remarked: "Taking a brave step in 2012, Little Wold Vineyard planted their first vines. It has now evolved into a winery as well as a wedding and event space which has kept their dream alive for generations to come."