The Farm Shop & Deli Awards, to be held at the NEC, Birmingham, next year are now open for entries.

Running for the fifth consecutive year, free entries are open until 30 September 2017, with finalists to be announced in March 2018, and winners revealed on 16 April at the Farm Shop & Deli Show.

Awards are up for grabs across 12 different categories. As well as Newcomer of the Year, nine regional awards are available, plus the coveted Farm Shop & Deli Retailer of the Year.

The Farm Shop & Deli Awards recognises the best specialist independent retailers in the UK and celebrate high levels of service, product knowledge, initiative, innovation and community involvement.

Nigel Barden, chair of judges and food journalist, will be among the leading speciality retailers and key industry figures on the judging panel.

“The farm shop and deli sector continues to grow in size and importance, as do these awards, which crucially acknowledge the finest in the field, in both retail and online,” Barden said. “They also help consumers track down the finest out there, as these talented retailers continue to push the boundaries.”

The 2017 Awards received over 3,400 online votes during the consumer voting stage, and the final in April was attended by more than 120 visitors supporting the 55 category and regional finalists.

Hobbs House Bakery scooped last year’s Baker of the Year award and was also the South West regional winner. Other bakery awards finalists were Bondgate Bakery, Otley; Hambleton Bakery, Rutland; and The Hungry Guest, Petworth.

Seasons Bakery’s Beetroot Multiseed Sourdough loaf was declared Britain’s Best Loaf 2017 at the show.

The 13 Farm Shop & Deli Awards categories are:

•             Baker

•             Butcher

•             Cheesemonger

•             Delicatessen

•             Farm Shop – large retailer

•             Farm Shop – small retailer

•             Fishmonger

•             Food hall

•             Greengrocer

•             Market

•             Newcomer

•             Online business

•             Village store/local shop

There are nine regional awards across:

•             East Anglia

•             Midlands

•             North East

•             North West

•             Northern Ireland

•             Scotland

•             South East

•             South West

•             Wales