SEVERAL west Dorset businesses have been recognised in a county-wide awards ceremony.

The businesses were celebrated as some of the county's best in the Dorset Food, Drink and Farming Awards.

Bothenhampton organic vegetable grower Bothen Hill and Salwayash-based wine producer Furleigh Estate were jointly awarded the Business Collaboration Award for their deliveries of asparagus and wine throughout the lockdown.

Rebecca Hansford, owner of Furleigh Estate, said: “We were talking about putting an event on with Bothen Hill as they grow their asparagus just over the hedge from us but then lockdown came and put and end to that.

“We decided we’d work together and put their asparagus in boxes with some of our wine and it just took off from there.

"It worked well and we were really happy to be recognised in the awards.

“We both got to sell our product and show the rest of the country what we can produce down here. We’re hoping to do the same next year.”

The Half Moon in Melplash was named as the Best Dining Experience to Go. The pub put more focus on takeaway food throughout the lockdown and its success saw them continue with it after pubs were allowed to reopen.

Clare Pimbley, landlady at the Half Moon, said: “We’re so proud of our team, it really was a really team effort.

“It was a privilege just to be nominated by our customers and we were over the moon to win the award.”

“We already had a portion of our menu available for takeaway so when lockdown began we were in a great position to go straight into it and we carried on after the lockdown finished."

Mrs Pimbley attributed much of the achievement to getting well set up for online orders, a project overseen by her husband and landlord, Jamie, and their 15-year-old son, Ben.

The Dark Bear mobile bar won the award for Best Food and Drink Delivery Experience.

Lloyd Brown, of Dark Bear, said:“A massive thank you to everyone who supported us, it’s been so much fun dropping cocktails off to folks and has kept our spirits up waving through windows and having chats during lockdown.

“What started off as a way of keeping our business alive has become an integral part and we are now focusing on delivering for Christmas, as well as our ‘sip along tastings’ every Friday at 7pm. This coming Friday we have Tarquins gin, a real local favourite.

“Massive thanks to Pete at Gorilla Canning for lending us the canning machine, without him it wouldn’t have been possible.”

Fruit 'n' Two Veg in Beaminster placed first in the Best Independent Food and Drink Retailer category.

Other highly commended businesses included Framptoms of Butchers in the Best Independent Food and Drink Retailer category, Felicity’s Farm Shop in the Best Farm Shop Category, Brassica in the Best Dining Experience to Go category and Baboo Gelato in the Food Producer of the Year category.