A FAMILY-run West Somerset farm shop has become the third local business to be shortlisted this year for a ‘rural Oscar’.

Somerset Farmhouse, in Williton, has reached the regional finals of the Countryside Alliance Awards after it was nominated in the butcher category.

The shop, which sells locally-sourced produce is run by John Payton and his daughter Sally and son Rob.

Mr Payton senior, who has 45 years of experience in the meat, poultry, and game business, said: “It is our aim to source livestock from traditional farms in and around the Exmoor National Park, where animal welfare and care for the land takes precedence over short-term, mass-produced, economic ‘factory production line’ farming that has changed the industry over the last 25 years.”

Also shortlisted in different categories this year are the Exmoor White Horse Inn public house, in Exford, and Westcountry Blacksmiths, in Allerford.

The Countryside Alliance Awards, which have been running for 16 years, are an annual celebration of British food and farming, enterprise, and heritage, recognising small, hard-working businesses.

Awards director Sarah Lee said: “We have been overwhelmed by nominations this year.

“The secret to the popularity is that they honour the people involved in these businesses and not just their produce or services.

“They exist to sing the praises of those who work hard to keep our communities and rural economy ticking, but do not seek the spotlight.

“These awards provide a cause for celebration in a time of great uncertainty in the countryside.

“Our local produce is second to none and there are many community heroes and businesses worthy of national recognition.”

The winners are being chosen via a public vote being held this month with the results to be announced in the spring.

The winners of each region will then be up against fellow winners from around the UK and national champions will be announced at a House of Lords reception in June.