UV Safety Month: Protect Your Eyes & Skin Against UV Rays with Watercress

July 1, 2015 | post a comment

July is UV Safety MonthAs we gather with friends and family for barbecues, travel to vacation houses and head to the beach, it’s important to protect our skin this summer. July is UV Safety Month and experts stress that eye protection is just as important as skin. Long-term sun exposure not only causes sunburn but it can also lead to a number of vision complications, including Photokeratitis (corneal sunburn that can result in temporary vision loss), corneas, and even skin cancer around the eyelids. Sunscreen, a pair of sunglasses and wearing a hat are common ways to safeguard your peepers and your largest organ. However, diet can also help your skin and eyes.

Medical News Today says that two cups of watercress contains 48% of your daily recommended intake of vitamin C and 44% of vitamin A. According to the American Optometric Association, “scientific evidence suggests vitamin C lowers the risk of developing cataracts, and when taken in combination with other essential nutrients, can slow the progression of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and visual acuity loss.”

Watercress and Upland Cress Named SuperfoodsIn addition to its vitamin A and C power, the leafy green contains lutein. What’s lutein you ask? It’s an antioxidant found most notably in dark green leafy vegetables. It’s crucial to eye health because it protects against UV damage before it can damage the sensitive part of the retina that is vital to detailed sight. [Bausch + Lomb]

Another advantage for adding watercress to your diet is that it can also improve your skin! In a study reported by the Daily Mail, “10 out of 11 female volunteers experienced visible improvements to their skin after just four weeks of adding one bag of watercress a day to their diet.”

Incorporating watercress into your summer bites is simple. Add it in your sandwich in lieu of romaine or iceberg lettuce or mix a handful of it into your lunchtime salad. What are you waiting for? Take care of your eyes and skin this summer by picking up the certified antioxidant-rich superfoods, Live Gourmet® brand Living Upland Cress and Grower Pete’s Organic brand Living Watercress!

Labels: Healthy Living

Kid-Friendly Snacks for Summer Vacation

June 25, 2015 | post a comment


GARD091H-FruitVeggieMonthThere are many reasons to celebrate during this time of year—many schools break for summer, weather gets warmer and the days are longer. Summer’s joie de vivre nature makes it tempting to pick up fast and pre-packaged food so that you carry on doing what you love most, spending time with loved ones. We’re here to help. Whether the kids have day camp, you’re hanging out by the pool or traveling to the lake house, try these quick, nutritious snacks that will satisfy the whole family. Another reason to prepare healthy meals is its National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month. For an adult with a 2,000 calorie diet, one should eat 2 cups of fruit and 2- 3 cups of vegetables per day.

Colorful whole fruits and vegetables arranged in a beautiful way will entice your finicky little ones to take a crack at tasting new food. Try Carlsbad Craving’s Poppy Seed Chicken Fruit Salad with Butter Lettuce. The dish contains bright whole nutrient-rich foods from strawberries to avocados. Plus, it has the perfect edible vessel, butter lettuce, and can be packed in the cooler and eaten on-the-go.


Champneys-Watercress-BluebSmoothies are also great morning, noon and night meals that have a multitude of vitamin and minerals. This Watercress, Blueberry and Pineapple smoothie doesn’t contain any additional sugar or dairy but the fruits in the beverage will satisfy your resident sweet tooth. From vitamin A to zinc, watercress’s superfood powers have you and your family covered.

Summer wouldn’t be the same without ice cream. If you’re feeling adventurous, try making Ideas in Food’s Homemade Watercress Ice Cream. If you prefer your greens to be subtle in your treats, take a cue from Paleo Mom’s brownies with the hidden se6a00d83451f83a69e20115705f5361970b-picret ingredient—butter lettuce.


By integrating more fruits and vegetables into your daily snacks and meals, you can help shape better eating habits for your whole family. Who knows, your youngster may even ask for a second helping!


Labels: Eat Leafy Greens for Nutrition, Eat Your Greens Recipes for Kids, Fresh Eating Tips, Green Smoothie, Upland Cress Recipes, watercress recipes

Hollandia Produce, L.P. Celebrates Father’s Day with the Overgaag Family

June 17, 2015 | post a comment


In honor of Father’s Day this weekend, Hollandia Produce, L.P. CEO Pete Overgaag reflects on what he has learned from his father about growing and running a business. “Growing plants is what I’ve done all my life. It’s completely in my blood,” he tells us. “I’m proud to be able to keep our family farming tradition going here in California.”

In 1968, Pete’s parents along with him and his three siblings immigrated to California from the Netherlands. Within two years the Overgaag family found a modest nursery on the Central Coast in Carpinteria and set about carrying on their family tradition of greenhouse cultivation of various plants. Operating initially as Hollandia Flowers, the company’s first crops were cut flowers, including carnations, chrysanthemums, and baby’s breath.

Pete fondly remembers growing the varieties in the family’s greenhouses with crystal clarity. “We would roto-till the soil, then steam-sterilize it, rake it flat, lay the support grid wire on the ground, then plant a young chrysanthemum plant in each square space that the wire grid provided,” he says. “It would take about 15-16 weeks until they were ready for harvest.”

The Overgaag Family

From Left to Right: Back row: Peter Overgaag, CEO; Art Overgaag, (Pete’s dad & Founder); Magda Overgaag, (Pete’s mom); Leo Overgaag (Pete’s brother and CEO of North Shore Living Herbs, our sister company); Front Row: Karin Connolly (Pete’s sister & Customer Service Manager); Ellen Seyle (Pete’s sister & Controller).

Pete and his team of growers continue to call upon the company’s earlier methods that Pete and his family learned from their grandfather Leo and father, Art. He points out that they inspire him “to keep innovating and [realizing] that there is always a better way and room for improvement.”

Today, there’s no question those methods have led to extensive progress. The company’s greenhouse operation has robustly expanded since its early days, adding an entire new facility roughly 30 miles south in Oxnard which also will double the company’s physical size when fully complete. Additionally, the family work ethic has enabled Hollandia Produce to successfully distribute product nationwide at many of the largest, most prominent grocers in America, while holding true to its core values.

As for the CEO’s own advice for the next generation of growers, he encourages them to: “Pay attention to new technology, question the traditional ways and experiment with new ideas, no matter how odd the idea may seem.”

Labels: Holidays by Hollandia Produce

The Watercress Invasion: How the Green Took the UK by Storm

June 10, 2015 | post a comment


River_Chess_watercress_beds_-_geograph.org.uk_-_66967You may have noticed while perusing Pinterest and food blogs that watercress is a ubiquitous ingredient in English cuisine. The peppery green is found in home-cooked meals, pub fare and even experimental dishes that grace tables in five-star London restaurants. It’s so popular that the southern town of Alresford holds an annual watercress festival that brings in more than 15,000 visitors each year!

Watercress Line Train in the UKWhat makes the Brits go gaga for watercress? Dating back to the early 17th century, it has been a UK staple for a multitude of reasons. They don’t call London and Manchester ‘Rainy Cities’ for nothing. The green thrives in England’s damp countryside and is also unaffected by frost. Watercress also became more widely available in the 1800s as railway systems developed and expanded throughout the country. In fact, there is even a rail line named the Watercress Line in the Hampshire region. The demand for the green continued in the twentieth century. During both World Wars, the Brits had to rely on locally grown foods, hence becoming increasingly dependent on the country’s watercress production.

8180101643_54bd20f5eb_oOne of the oldest English meals is simply watercress between two slices of “Poor Man’s Bread.” Take Miss Foodwise’s advice in assembling the perfect “Poor Man’s Bread” sandwich for an authentic English culinary experience. For a contemporary spin on classic tea sandwiches, try the BBC’s version with egg mayonnaise and watercress. If you’re an adventurous chef, take a stab at the England based-company Mummy Make’s Watercress & Wasabi Fudge.

Whether it’s in a soup, on a sandwich or even in desserts, watercress is an excellent addition to any meal in and out of the UK. Try adding our Live Gourmet® Living Upland Cress or our Grower Pete’s™ Living Watercress for vibrant color, plentiful nutrients and robust flavor in your own recipes. Another bonus for eating Live Gourmet® brand Living Upland Cress and Grower Pete’s Organic brand Living Watercress: they’re certified as Antioxidant-rich Superfoods by the SCS containing one of the highest concentrations of nutrients, most notably lutein.


Labels: Lettuce Teach You Something

Watercress’ Superfood Properties Help the Body Recover!

May 27, 2015 | post a comment


By now, we’ve learned that exercising is integral to a healthy lifestyle along with a well-balanced diet of whole grains, fresh vegetables and fruit. According to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention, adults need about 2 ½ hours of aerobic exercise per week along with strength-building workouts, such as push-ups, squats and sit-ups.

Watercress and Upland Cress Named SuperfoodsWhen our bodies undergo physical exertion, we produce free radicals, and there is evidence linking free radical production to the process of aging and DNA damage. “When free radicals overwhelm your antioxidant defenses, your cells are damaged. This damage is called oxidative stress.” (http://evidencemag.com/exercise-oxidative-stress/)

A study by scientists at Edinburgh Napier University and Ulster University found that subjects who consumed watercress daily before working out, experienced less DNA damage than their non-consuming watercress counterparts. Want to see watercress “flex its antioxidant muscle”? Check out this Nutritionfacts.org video on how eating the green superfood can combat exercise-caused DNA damage.

Starr_070730-7904_Nasturtium_officinaleThough your body may experience oxidative stress from exercise that doesn’t mean you should skip out on your next session—no matter how busy you are. According to evidencemag.com, “if you train in a progressive, intelligent manner, with adequate recovery between workouts, you can build up to extremely high training loads and still be protected against potentially dangerous levels of oxidative stress.”


Garnet Henderson. Photo: Ayelet Pearl

New York-based personal trainer Garnet Henderson shares three routines you can do at home or on the road. “You can do this series once if you’re pressed for time, or repeat 2-4 times to get a complete workout,” says Henderson. “Doing the exercises back to back with as little rest as possible in between will add a cardio punch to the routine.”

Don’t forget to throw a handful of our Live Gourmet brand Living Upland Cress or Grower Pete’s Organic brand Living Watercress into your morning smoothie or in your sandwich or salad at lunch before you hit the gym or go to your favorite fitness class!

Garnet Henderson’s Go-To Exercises

Single-leg deadlifts:

  1. Stand on your right leg with a slight bend in the knee. The left knee should be bent as well, so that the left foot is held a few inches off the floor. Keep your abs engaged throughout the exercise by drawing your bellybutton in toward your spine.
  2. Keeping your back flat and maintaining the slight bend in the knee, hinge at the hips to reach your left hand down toward the floor. Reach over as far as you can and then return to standing, keeping your back long and squeezing your butt.
  3. Repeat 6-10 times on each side.

Walking push-ups:

  1. Begin standing in a neutral position, with feet hip distance apart.
  2. Bend over until you can place your palms on the floor, bending the knees as much as needed.
  3. Walk the hands out until you are in a plank position. Your body should be in a straight line from your head down to your heels – make sure you aren’t lifting the hips too high or letting them sag toward the floor. Draw your bellybutton in toward your spine to support the lower back.
  4. Perform one push-up.
  5. Walk the hands back in toward the feet and then stand up.
  6. Repeat 6-10 times.

Wall angel:

  1. Stand with your back against the wall, with your feet a few inches away from the wall and knees bent slightly.
  2. Make sure to maintain a neutral spine throughout the exercise: your upper back and head should rest against the wall, and your lower back should curve away slightly. Keep the bellybutton drawn in toward your spine to prevent the lower back from arching excessively.
  3. Place your hands against the wall at about the level of your ears, elbows bent. Keeping as much contact between your hands and the wall as possible, extend the arms up into a “Y” shape and then lower down to the starting position. You may find it hard at first to keep the hands against the wall the whole time – that’s ok.
  4. Repeat 10-12 times.

Labels: Healthy Living

Add Greens to Shake up your Memorial Day Barbecue Fare

May 20, 2015 | post a comment


Healthy vegetarian eating organic lettuce in vegetable garden in natureHeading to a Memorial Day barbecue this weekend? Before you reach over for a char-grilled burger or a hot dog smothered in ketchup, consider adding greens to your seasonal meal. Did you know? According to nutritionfacts.org, plant-based foods have 64 times more antioxidants than meat, fish and eggs. This doesn’t mean you have to give up BBQ completely. It’s ok to partake occasionally in good ole American delicacies as long as your diet regularly consists of an ample amount of fresh vegetables, fruits and whole grains.

There are plenty of ways to incorporate veggies in this weekend’s menu. With the popularity of clean eating and “vegivore-ism”, foodies and chefs alike have created delectable, party-friendly dishes where vegetables are the shining stars. Greens, like watercress and butter lettuce, are versatile and have an abundance of vitamins and minerals, including vitamins K and A, iron and calcium.

Watercress Potato Salad

Photo: Petrina Tinslay on Real Simple

Add a few dishes that highlight these indelible greens to your outdoor spread. Martha Stewart’s Grilled Butter Lettuce has the same smoky grill flavor as a burger, but without the amount of fat and cholesterol. A picnic or barbecue is not complete without potato salad. “Veg up” the summer staple by adding our Living Upland Cress or Watercress, which are certified antioxidant-rich superfoods. Try preparing Real Simple’s Baby Potato and Watercress Salad.

A Fruit AMerican Flag made up of strawberries, apples and blueberriesRing in this Memorial Day and the beginning of summer by sharing fresh, veggie-driven dishes alongside classics that will surely win over your friends and family’s bellies!

Labels: Butter Lettuce Recipes, Eat Leafy Greens for Nutrition

Celebrate National Salad Month with our Living Butter Lettuce Products

May 13, 2015 | post a comment


RootsAre you curious about the origins of the lettuce you eat week after week? Consider this: the leafy vegetable originated in Egypt in 2680 B.C. Since those days, people have enjoyed a myriad of varieties, including our favorite: butter lettuce, also known as Bibb or Boston.  Known for its vibrant green hue, velvety texture and subtle sweet taste, butter lettuce has played a supporting role in many recipes, but it is in salad where lettuce is the real star.

May is National Salad Month and we’re highlighting some of America’s salad mainstays that have become integral to our dining history and foodie culture.

The Cobb Salad

As legend has it, one night in 1937 restauranteur Bob Cobb, owner of the original Brown Derby restaurant in Hollywood, haphazardly threw together several ingredients he found lying around his kitchen. Cobb’s friend thought the salad was so delectable, he ordered it in the restaurant the next day. This incident marked the first of more than 4 million Cobb salads sold in the historic restaurant. Incidentally, this salad was also known under the moniker “The Derby” after the famed restaurant.

Live Gourmet's caesar salad made with butter lettuce and chickenCaesar Salad 

Much likes its Cobb counterpart, Caesar Salad has a storied past. According to foodie folk lore (though there are several versions out there) Caesar (Cesare) Cardini dreamt up the first Caesar Salad in his Tijuana establishment during Prohibition. Though the dish is often accompanied by Romaine, we encourage you to try it with butter lettuce, which is a great source for vitamins A and K.  Want to try our Butter Lettuce Caesar Salad recipe? Download it here.

The Wedge 

Though there is no record of when and where the first Wedge was served, many can attest its popularity at fashionable dinner parties in the 1960s. This simple dish, often made with iceberg lettuce, is seeing a comeback in trendy restaurants today. Traditionally prepared by chopping a head of lettuce in half and topped with blue cheese and a creamy dressing, the Wedge is now prepared in a variety of ways, like Veg Kitchen’s  Butter Lettuce Wedge with Sunflower Seed Dressing, Pears, & Tempeh Bacon. Or, check out our Wedge Salad, made with butter lettuce, candied bacon and pomegranate seeds.

This is an image of a wedge salad with avocado and steakDo you or someone you know have a signature salad recipe?  Make it with butter lettuce and enter your creation on www.lettucerecipecontest.com by July 31. You could win a $1,000 Williams-Sonoma gift card! Be sure to share your recipe on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter with the hashtag #butterlettucecontest so your foodie friends, fans and followers can you cheer you on or join in the competition too. Happy salad month!


Labels: Butter Lettuce, Healthy Salad Recipes

Say Thanks to Mom by Hosting a Mother’s Day Brunch

May 6, 2015 | post a comment


This Sunday, give your mom or grandma a day off from the kitchen and create a festive seasonal brunch. There’s no need to plan multi-courses–just a tasty meal with simple, fresh ingredients that can be enjoyed indoors or al fresco.

A variety of ingredients are displayed in colorful bowls

Click on the image to see how these baked eggs come together!

Live Gourmet® Living Upland Cress and certified organic Grower Pete’s Living Watercress are versatile ingredients for any springtime recipe. These greens add a peppery bite and a vibrant hue to the classic French Oeufs en Cocotte (a.k.a. baked eggs). Add tomatoes for even more color and flavor. In some states, heirloom varieties are beginning to pop up at local farmer’s markets, but grocery store cherry tomatoes work well too. As for nutrition, this dish packs a punch. Both watercress (a nutrient-dense superfood) and tomatoes are rich in antioxidants and provide ample amounts of vitamin K, a key component for maintaining strong bones.

A martini glass filled with Watercress Elderflower cocktail

Watercress & Elderflower Martini by Robert Merjavy, Chester, UK. Photo: Gazregan.com

Round out your meal and sop up those delectable eggs with slices of fresh French bread. And, remember to raise your glass (a Robert Merjavy’s Elderflower Watercress Martini perhaps?) and toast your special matriarch! After all, she did bring you into this world. Happy Mother’s Day!


Baked Eggs with Watercress, Tomatoes and Pancetta (for four)


8 eggs

4 pats of butter

½ bunch of watercress

1 large heirloom tomato (or a handful of cherry tomatoes)

4 slices of pancetta

4 tsp cream

4 tsp Parmesan

Salt & pepper

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Smear the pats of butter on the inside of four large-size ramekins or small oven-proof shallow bowls.
  3. Sauté the pancetta to crisp over medium heat (approximately 5 minutes). Set aside.
  4. Shred the parmesan.
  5. Chop the watercress into bite-size pieces and slice the tomatoes.
  6. Lay a small handful of watercress at the bottom of the ramekin, creating a cradle for the eggs.
  7. Break two eggs each in each ramekin.
  8. Add 1 tsp of cream to each ramekin.
  9. Lay slices of tomatoes on top of the eggs
  10. Divide the pancetta and parmesan and sprinkle both ingredients on the top of each egg mixture.
  11. Season with salt and pepper.
  12. Place the ramekins on a baking sheet and cook for 10-15 minutes. The whites of the eggs should be set while the yolks should be runny.


Labels: Fresh Home Recipes, Holidays by Hollandia Produce, Live Gourmet Products, Organic Watercress Recipes, Upland Cress Recipes

Juicing with Grace McGuire, A Vegan Super Mom and Health Blogger

April 29, 2015 | post a comment


Grace McGuire is a passionate mother of two based in Allen, TX. A vegan since she was 22-years-old, McGuire often shares her nutrient-dense juices on Instagram and will share her foodie wisdom on her soon-to-be blog Nourish with Whole Foods.

We recently had the pleasure to speak with McGuire on her secret to leading a healthy lifestyle while raising a family. This is an excerpt from our conversation.

Grace4Live Gourmet: How did you initially become interested in healthy eating and Veganism?

Grace McGuire: I have been a vegan since I was 22-years-old. I was having a lot of stomach issues and the doctor suggested I go on a rabbit diet (leafy greens and vegetables) for a few weeks to regulate my stomach cramping and give my digestive system a little break from all the meat and processed fast foods I was consuming.

In the meantime, my oldest sister was in need of a kidney transplant and needed her siblings to get tested to see if we were a match. I started doing more research into how I could help get my body ready for the journey ahead and for all of the testing. I came across Veganism and how amazing it was at healing the body of inflammation and toxicity. I became a vegan shortly after. Although no one in our family was a match, by God’s grace, my sister was able to get a kidney from a family who donated their son’s kidney. We are so grateful to them and their enormous generosity to give life after losing their son.

grace1LG: How do you maintain healthy lifestyle while juggling work, your kids and personal life?

GM: I have two little boys and one of the many things I want to teach them is to live a healthy lifestyle. I always prep and plan ahead. For example, I soak oats, quinoa flakes with nut milk and chia seeds for breakfast. I also always have quinoa and legumes on hand for protein. I keep my pantry and fridge stocked with seasonal organic fruits and vegetables. I also use a lot of dry herbs as well as fresh herbs to give my plant based cooking some flavor and added nutrients.

LG: What advice do you have for mothers who are looking to make changes in their family’s eating habits but don’t have a lot of time to prepare meals?

GM: I know a lot of moms who don’t have a lot of time. With the little time they do have, they don’t want to spend it in the kitchen. My advice is to plan ahead and keep it simple. My mom is an excellent example. She doesn’t have time on the weekdays to cook with her job. I advised her to make quinoa and add frozen peas, corn, lemon juice, olive oil, kale, spinach and watercress for a simple and nutritious meal on-the-go. It doesn’t need to be heated and she can put it in a jar and have it in her purse whenever she gets hungry.

Grace 2LG: Any advice on how to get kids to eat their vegetables?

GM: If you have a desire to eat avocados so will your little one! Kids tend to mimic everything we do, including what we put in our bodies. They might not be hungry, but if they
see you eating an apple, [chances are] they then will want a bite. Teaching our kids healthy food habits at a young age prepares them for food choices they make in their future.


Grace3Grace’s Anti-Inflammatory Juice with Living Watercress:


1 Pineapple

1 cabbage

2-3 handfuls of spinach

1 bundle of Living watercress

1 lime (peeled)

2 celery stalks

Add all the ingredients to your juicer according to the manufacturer’s setting and enjoy over ice.

Did you know?: Drink Grace’s signature juice before hitting the gym. A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition reports that eating a small amount of watercress each day raised levels of key antioxidants that fend of DNA damage caused by exercise.


Labels: Eat Leafy Greens for Nutrition, Fresh Eating Tips, Live Gourmet Products, Organic Watercress Recipes, Uncategorized

Hollandia Produce, L.P. Celebrates Earth Day Year-Round

April 22, 2015 | post a comment


Here at Hollandia Produce, L.P., we believe that Earth Day is more than a day-long observation or celebration but a conscious commitment practiced year-round. This is especially true now that water conservation has become a critical priority for all of us living and working in California.

Earlier this month, Governor Jerry Brown announced that the State Water Resources Control Board must immediately cut consumption by 25%. Cities across the Golden State are coming up with a multitude of ways in which their citizens can save water. One way is by using “smart meters,” which track home and business water use every five minutes and send usage reports in real time. According to National Public Radio (NPR), this effort has helped some homeowners’ in Long Beach cut usage by 80%.

we use a continuous-flow-hydroponic system known as nutrient film technique (NFT), where a very shallow stream of water containing all the dissolved nutrients required for plant growth is recirculated. This hydroponic growing technique recycles water while also limiting water loss due to evaporation.

As the water scarcity in California continues, the adoption of water-conservation methods is increasingly important. That’s why we use a continuous-flow-hydroponic system known as nutrient film technique (NFT), where a very shallow stream of water containing all the dissolved nutrients required for plant growth is recirculated. This hydroponic growing technique recycles water while also limiting water loss due to evaporation.  Moreover, our method produces nearly four times the yield per acre while using up to 84% less water than  if our lettuce were field-grown (exact figures depend upon the region, soil structure, time of year and irrigation method used).

Paper RECYCLE signIn addition to being water conscious, Hollandia Produce, L.P. also practices sustainability by using packaging that is both recycled and recyclable. Our Squircle® clamshells put your empty plastic water bottles to good use by being comprised of nearly 70% polyethylene terephthalate (PET) water bottles. (PET is a safe, recyclable material that does not contain Biosphenol A. (BPA)). We also reduced the amount of plastic needed to manufacture these clamshells by 15% in recent years.

A seed starter made with plastic clamshell

Photo: mylittlehomestead.com

If you and your family are looking for a creative way to celebrate Earth Day, you can repurpose the plastic clamshell that houses our Live Gourmet® Living Butter Lettuce or Living 3-n-1 Lettuce as a seed starter. All you need is a bit of soil and a seed packet of your choice. Simply line the vessel with soil and follow directions on the seed packaging. The containers also make great organizers for office supplies, your children’s crayons, and as a holder for your hair accessories.

greenhouse with logoInnovative and creative sustainability practices are an integral part of our business ethos. We are dedicated to practicing conservation methods and learning new techniques so that generations to come can enjoy Hollandia Produce, L.P. products.

Labels: Uncategorized