A family owned orchard in Matamata has won the Waikato Ballance Farm Environment Awards.
Frans and Tineke de Jong run Southern Belle Orchards in Matamata with son Talbert and his partner, Emily Meese.
They grow a variety of capsicums for the local market and are expecting 20 tonnes of feijoas this year, half of which will be exported. They also grow chillies and capsicums.
The judges said Mr de Jong's inventive and experimental approach to soil fertility and nutrient and water management was an important part of the business.
They noted his creation of a greenhouse heating system which reduced energy usage by 40 percent, and a unique closed circuit irrigation method to make sure no nutrients were being lost.