THE Green Bean Shop in Weobley has been named Best Independent Food and Drink Retailer.

John Wilson, editor of the Hereford Times, presented the award to Emily Starnes and her husband, Matt, and her mum, Jane Ray.

The runners-up were Mailes Brothers in the Butter Market, Hereford and Oakchurch Farm Shop in Staunton-on-Wye.

Emily said: “I am really pleased. I like how everyone knows each other [at the awards ceremony]. We all work with each other.”

The shop stocks a wide range of fresh fruit and vegetables, a deli, and lots of local produce from Herefordshire and the counties around.

Emily said: “There is some great produce around and we get to promote it. There are always new items as well.

"If we have the time we will go and walk around some of the markets. Otherwise it is what the customers tell us what they like.”

They plan to make jams and chutneys and would like to make more deli products too.

Nine years ago, Emily took over a small fruit and veg shop which also sold bread and a few jars. She started to sell a lot of local produce and offer a wider range of items.

Then five years ago she moved next door to a larger property where she developed the range of what she sold and also opened a cafe in the other half of the building.

Herefordshire suppliers include: Fat Man Chilli, Parton's fruit juice, Weobley Ash apple juice, Method Roastery coffee, Hereford honey from Ledgemoor, Sue Gilmour chocolates, Tyrrells crisps, The Green Bean marmalade and preserves, Myrtle's jams and chutneys and Country Cook cakes.

The Green Bean Shop has become one of the social hubs in the compact village of Weobley where people can buy good food and find a welcome and a friendly chat.

They feel it has become an important part of the life of the village.

Emily added: "My biggest achievement this year is that I've managed to keep everything going whilst having two small children.

"I'm proud of the fact that we have introduced many local suppliers, more recently Weobley Ash apple juice, Myrtle's jams and chutneys and Rayeesa's curry sauces.

"We're keen to use as little plastic as possible, so we now have compostable deli pots for take away coleslaw and salads and we always use paper bags for the fruit and vegetables, when they are needed."

People come into the shop for a chat, especially when they live alone -the shop offers friendship to many.