TWO farm shops in North Yorkshire are flying the flag for the whole of the region.

For the second year running, the Ainsty Farm Shop, at Green Hammerton, has won the Countryside Alliance Best Local Food Retailer title.

But this time it shares the honours jointly with Beadlam Grange Farm Shop and Tearoom, on the A170, two miles east of Helmsley.

Judges said: “For the first time in the awards’ history, there were two outstanding candidates and worthy winners and we felt it was unfair not to give them both a chance of winning the national title.”

That supreme title, selected from 2,800 entrants throughout the UK, will be announced at the House of Lords on March 18.

Success for the Ainsty Farm Shop will crown a victorious year which saw the venture reaching the finals of the Retailer of the Year category of The Press Business Awards 2008.

The business began in 1998 as a consortium of six livestock farmers in the Ainsty area of North Yorkshire as a way of marketing their own produce direct to the customer.

Today it is run by founding farming couple Stuart and Lily Beaton and the produce has broadened to the point where it became The Press’s Greengrocer of the Year in 2003.

It also sells a wide range of Yorkshire cheeses and has an in-house bakery and a coffee shop.

Mark and Jenny Rooke created Beadlam Grange Farm Shop and Tearoom in 2007 by renovating their listed 18th century former granary and wheel shed.