February is American Heart Month, and according to the CDC, nearly 1 in 3 deaths in the US each year is caused by heart disease and stroke. At least 200,000 deaths from heart disease and stroke each year are preventable. What can you do prevent heart disease? Stop smoking, incorporate a daily exercise regime, and maintain a healthy and balanced diet says the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.
Eating foods such as leafy greens and vibrantly colored fruits that contain flavonoids, plant compounds found in various foods and drinks, are rich antioxidants that are thought to help prevent cell damage. A Finnish study concluded that a high intake of flavonoids could be protective against heart disease.
Our Living Watercress and Upland Cress are among those fruits and vegetables that are excellent sources of flavonoids and other impactful antioxidants. Show some culinary love this Valentine’s Day by preparing a meal that’s heart healthy and high in vitamins and minerals.
First, pick up our Grower Pete’s Brand Organic Living Watercress or Live Gourmet Living Upland Cress at your local market. Then, start with Food Network UK’s Bruschetta with Gorgonzola, Balsamic Figs, Mint and Watercress or Food 52’s Oyster’s Rockefeller (which are thought to be an aphrodisiac) with Watercress and Greens. Is your sweetheart a vegetarian? Don’t fret. You can still cook a romantic meal that meets both of your dietary needs without sacrificing flavor, like Sainsburys Magazine’s Pan-Fried Gnocchi with Watercress Mint Pesto. Last, but certainly not least, indulge in a bottle of red wine or dark chocolate. They too are rich in flavonoids!
Countless publications have predicted that watercress is the new kale in 2016. We couldn’t agree more. We’re glad the food industry and foodies at large are catching on, because there are a multitude of ways that watercress’s nutritional value surpasses other produce.
Our own Living Watercress and Upland Cress are antioxidant-certified. This means that laboratory testing, conducted by SCS, confirmed that Live Gourmet Living Upland Cress and Grower Pete’s Brand Organic Watercress contain high quantities of lutein, an antioxidant known to fight cancer-causing free radical compounds. In addition to being the most nutrient-dense vegetables, our Living Watercress and Upland Cress are versatile additions to many meals!
But don’t just take our word for it. There are many articles that feature ways in which watercress is a beneficial addition to your diet and healthy routine. We thought we’d share what publications are saying about the powerhouse green.
The Dish says: “Strong on nutrition and unexpectedly bold in flavor, watercress is the superfood that we all could probably use a bit more of in our lives.”
In Female First’s “Is Watercress the new Kale? Here are 10 reasons we think so” the author writes: “It has real flavour. Watercress brings pepperiness to the plate thanks to the ITCs (that’s isothiocyanates in case you didn’t know!) that are produced as you chew it. Those powerful little ITCs have been shown to have cancer preventative properties, repair the damage caused by exercise, stress and everyday living and actually boost the immune system too.”
Eat This states: “Gram for gram this mild-tasting and flowery-looking green contains four times more beta carotene than an apple, and a whopping 238 percent of your daily recommended dose of vitamin K per 100 grams—two compounds that keep skin dewy and youthful.”
Want to learn even more about the superfood watercress? Join us for an online chat tomorrow, Wednesday, February 3 from 12noon-1:30 p.m (pacific time) with Dr. Steve Rothwell. Sign up on The Optimist website.
Food52 reminds us that watercress is a versatile ingredient in many recipes. It’s a delightful addition to a variety of fare from Italian to Thai, but it can also be utilized in a number of other, albeit unconventional, ways.
Did you know? British author Colin Spencer wrote that the Romans treated insanity with watercress and vinegar. And according to legend, the early Greek physician Hippocrates grew watercress to treat blood disorders. Today, it’s infused into veggie forward cocktails and is even an integral ingredient in some organic body products.
We’ve provided a few out-of-the-box ways you can include watercress into your daily routine from the kitchen to the medicine cabinet.
Unconventional Ways to Use our Living Watercress:
- Now that we’re in flu and cold season, add watercress to your daily diet as a vitamin booster. Based on its nutrient-to-calorie ratio, watercress is ranked highest on the nutrient scale; it even has more vitamin C than oranges and other citrus. Vitamin C helps the body fight again against immune system deficiencies and the common cold.
- Swap basil and mint for watercress in your infused water, iced tea or lemonade for a robust, thirst quenching variation.
- Use watercress as a natural breath freshener. BBC Good Food writes: “Curiously the peppery taste of watercress has a cooling effect, a paradox that was noted by the celebrated 14th century French chef Taillevent…He prepared a lavish banquet and served watercress after the fourth course, writing on the menu ‘Watercress, served alone to refresh the mouth’.”
- Make our ‘cressto’ pesto sauce for your Friday night pizza, pasta or even salmon.
‘CRESSTO’ PESTO SAUCE
- 3 cups watercress, root ball and bottom, 1/3 stems removed, rinsed and patted dry
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup grape seed oil
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
- In blender or food processor, combine cress and garlic and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add remaining ingredients and process until blended.
- To serve: Drizzle over pasta, risotto, fish, meat or eggs, or use as a spread.
- Nutritional analysis per 1-tablespoon serving: 86 calories, 9 grams fat, 1 gram carbohydrates, trace protein, trace cholesterol, 52 miligrams sodium, trace dietary fiber, 96 percent of calories from fat.
Live Gourmet Blog http://www.livegourmet.com/wordpress/
Recently, chefs shared several food trends on The Huffington Post that they would like to see less of in 2016. Thankfully, they didn’t renounce pairing watercress with avocado. Though the combination isn’t as ubiquitous as sautéed kale or cronuts, the foodie world is catching onto the two green foods’ complementary flavors. Avocado, with its creamy consistency and mildness (it’s not called nature’s butter for nothing!), balances out watercress’ peppery bite.
An added bonus is that they’re both superfoods! Avocado contains good fats that contribute to healthy cholesterol levels and help the body absorb fat-soluble vitamins. Watercress, on the other hand, is a significant source of lutein and zeaxanthin, which support eye health and vision. The green leafy vegetable’s nutritional value doesn’t stop there. According to the Center for Disease Control, watercress is the most nutrient-dense vegetable, superseding the almighty kale, based on its nutrient-to-calorie ratio.
We’ve compiled our top five avocado and watercress recipes for you to test out on your family and friends. Don’t forget to pick up our Grower Pete’s Brand Organic Living Watercress or Live Gourmet Living Upland Cress before you embark on your culinary adventure!
Live Gourmet’s Top 5 Avocado and Watercress Recipes
- Nigella Lawson’s Salmon, avocado, watercress & pumpkin seed salad – Pumpkin seeds supply a significant source of iron and salmon provides omega-3 fatty acids in this already powerhouse salad.
- Avocado, Pea & Watercress Puree with Spicy Shrimp — This fusion of flavors will be an unexpected yet delightful surprise to you and dinner guests.
- Courgetti with Avocado & Watercress Pesto is a low carb rendition of the classic Italian pasta dish.
- Avocado Egg Salad – Avocado stands in for mayo in this tasty vegan recipe.
- Watercress guacamole — While avocado is usually the main attraction in this Mexican staple, watercress steals the show, providing just the right amount of bite.
Tea has been consumed for over 4,000 years for its association with good health, its calming effect and as a social custom amongst cultures around the world. Ask people how they like their tea and you’re bound to get a variety of responses: black tea with milk and sugar, the currently popular Japanese Matcha or loose leaf tea brewed with an infuser. Whatever your preference, the beverage offers numerous benefits, including helping keep inflammation at bay and increasing bone density.
Maximize your cup of tea by adding vitamin-rich plants to your daily cup. Country Living Magazine recommends using a combination of greens, herbs — we recommend North Shore Living Herbs — and edible flowers to create a balanced pot of tea that is both healthy and soothing. Our Grower Pete’s Organic Living Watercress and Live Gourmet Upland Cress are robust additions, not only for their peppery flavor but also for their superfood properties. Our cress products contain as much vitamin C as an orange, more calcium than milk, high levels of magnesium, lutein, phosphorous, potassium, iron, beta-carotene, and vitamins A, B1, B6, K, and E.
Though you can easily purchase an assortment of herbal and caffeinated varieties at your local grocer, be a botanist for a day and make your own tea on a quiet afternoon. We’ve included our own recipe for you to try!
Live Gourmet’s Trifecta Tea
- Equal parts (about ½ cup of each) of: our organic watercress or upland cress,
- lavender & edible flowers
- 8 cups of water
- Boil 8 cups of water
- Wash your greens, flowers and herbs thoroughly
- Add your ingredients to a French press or tea infuser
- Pour the water over your tea ingredients and let steep for 10 minutes
- If using a French press, lower the plunger down slowly. If using an infuser, remove it from the pot or mug. Enjoy!
- For an extensive list of ingredient recommendations go to Country Living Magazine: http://www.countryliving.com/food-drinks/a478/herbal-teas-0906/
Adapted from Country Living Magazine
Live Gourmet Blog http://www.livegourmet.com/wordpress/
As Hollandia Produce embarks on its 46th year in business, we have much to be excited about going into 2016. For starters, we are launching an official Food Service program that will include products from both of the company’s flagship brands: Live Gourmet and Grower Pete’s Organic. And, we’re even more thrilled to announce this offering will include two new products this quarter: Live Gourmet Living Baby Romaine and Grower Pete’s Organic Living Baby Butter Lettuce. Both products will be sold with the roots attached, allowing them to extend beyond typical shelf-life freshness.
Additionally, we’ll be presenting our entire produce portfolio in Food Service friendly packaging and in varying case counts for added convenience. Our Live Gourmet Living Baby Romaine also will be sold to retail as single units packaged in micro-perforated flow wrap bags, similar to our cress products beginning this quarter. We will be making an official announcement on all of these offerings in the very near future.
While we have much to look forward to in 2016, we would be remiss if we didn’t acknowledge the progress we’ve made in 2015. First, our Oxnard facility expansion project is continuing to gain traction and has enabled the company to hire additional staff and expand our production capacity. We have also garnered new customers and expanded into new sectors. As a result, we have enjoyed sales growth that has allowed us to pursue our strategic goals with fervor and reward our staff for their valued contributions to these efforts.
We are proud of the intense loyalty of our employees, especially those who’ve been with our company for decades. That’s why 2015 was also bittersweet. Three valued staffers, whose tenure ranged between 20 and 45 years, announced their retirement. We wish them much happiness for the future.
Although we are embarking on another year, we will continue to focus on our core values: growing the company from within; creating a positive, respectful and safe environment for our employees; and growing premium-quality and value-added products that are rooted in freshness and alive with flavor. In doing so, we know that 2016 will not only be a productive year for us and our customers, but it will surely be another Happy New Year!
To stay abreast of Hollandia Produce 2016 news, follow @LiveGourmet on social media and read our Lettuce Be Fresh™ blog every week!
The holiday season is often a whirlwind with gift wrapping, cocktail parties and spreading good cheer in the community. If you’re hosting dinner over the holidays, you most likely won’t have a chance to relax until after Christmas Day. To help you recharge, we’ve compiled a few simple post-holidays meals.
After noshing on copious amounts of egg nog and cookies, you may be in search of something green. Look no further than this walnut gorgonzola butter lettuce salad —compliments of our very own Sam Overgaag. The toasted walnuts, dried cranberries, living butter lettuce, upland cress and gorgonzola cheese make a flavorful combination while our greens provide ample amounts of vitamins A and C and calcium. Add a hard-boiled egg for a boost of protein.
To make use of your leftover bird, add white meat to these Asian-inspired lettuce cups. Just substitute the ground turkey for shredded. The finger food also makes a great hors d’oeuvre for a New Year’s party!
Did you prepare pork tenderloin, chicken breast or even fish for a gathering and have extra? Use this Eating Well recipe, made originally with grilled filet mignon, as a source of inspiration to try something new with your leftover entrée. The delicious herb butter is versatile and is great on just about any kind of protein and even on veggies.
With a bit of ingenuity and remaining dishes from your holiday feast, you can whip up a healthy, satisfying meal without missing out on quality time with your loved ones.
On December 22 the northern hemisphere will officially ring in winter. For most farms, the colder temperatures and shorter days of winter solstice marks a shift in crop production. However, for Hollandia Produce this is not the case. While our growing cycle is mildly affected by seasonal changes, our greenhouse growing method allows us to grow your favorite LIVE GOURMET® and GROWER PETE’S® products with consistent uniformity year-round.
How do we do this? All of our greens are produced hydroponically in state-of-the-art greenhouses where we control light, temperature, humidity, and nutrients. Hydroponics, “is a method of growing plants using mineral nutrient solutions, in water, without soil.”
Our technique is especially relevant in a time when our natural environment is rapidly changing. As we learned from recent COP21 Conference reports, climate change will have a profound effect on agriculture. But unlike traditional farming, our methods allow us to increase yields, shorten crop times and produce a uniquely uniform high-quality product on a year-round basis.
Though we may not face some of the same challenges as other growers, we still are mindful of our company’s carbon footprint. One way we’ve accomplished this is by updating our fleet trucks. They are designed to be aerodynamic in order to reduce fuel consumption, which consists of cleaner burning natural gas. Our fleet’s refrigeration units, that keep our greens fresh, are hybrid-electric, releasing less CO2 into our atmosphere. From growing to production, we continue to find ways in which we can become an increasingly sustainable business. And whether it be rain, shine, snow or sleet, we provide excellent and quality products to our consumers while utilizing environmentally-friendly practices.
For the past six years, Hollandia Produce has participated in the Festival of Trees presented by the Carpinteria Lions Club. Employees from local businesses and non-profit organizations take part in the tradition by decorating a tree in the theme of their choosing. Community members and their families can view the beautiful displays daily from 11:00am to 8:00pm now through December 12th in downtown Carpinteria (700 Linden Avenue).
The festival also raises funds for local causes through its raffle. This year’s drawing will take place on Sunday, December 13 at noon. Hollandia Produce is donating a foodie’s dream package that includes everything you would possibly want—from a hot cocoa set to a KitchenAid Mixer—to enjoy a winter day baking indoors with the family.
The Hollandia Produce Festival of Trees Committee
All proceeds will benefit the Girls Inc of Carpinteria playground, which is a member of Girls Incorporated, a national research, education and direct advocacy organization that inspires all girls to be strong, smart and bold. We are honored to be a part of this life-changing program.
Get in the holiday spirit by stopping by the Festival to view our and other local businesses’ one-of-a-kind holiday trees. And don’t forget to buy your raffle tickets ($1.00 each). Your donations will make a positive impact on our community!
National Made in America Month began in the 1980s to help revitalize the economy and to encourage individuals to buy products from the good ole USA. Each December, Americans recognize the tradition along with the more recent campaign “Grown in America.”
Did you know? “California produces a sizable majority of many American fruits, vegetables, and nuts,” reports Slate.com. At Hollandia Produce, all of our products are grown in Carpinteria, California. Our greenhouse growing methods allow us to provide our greens year-round to our consumers.
Though we have a rich history in California, our company’s roots trace back nearly 100 years to Holland, where CEO Pete Overgaag’s grandfather Leo first began farming. In 1953, Pete’s father and Hollandia Produce Founder Art Overgaag started his own nursery in Den Hoorn, Holland, growing tomatoes in the spring and summer and lettuce in the winter. About fifteen years later, Art moved his family to America, eventually settling in the Carpinteria/Santa Barbara area. Today, our company includes GROWER PETE’S® and LIVE GOURMET® products. They have won a number of awards, including the American Tasting Institute gold medal award for flavor and taste.
Our growing traditions of the past helped develop our present method: the continuous-flow-hydroponic system known as nutrient film technique (NFT). Pete has mentioned that his farmer forefathers have inspired him “to keep innovating” sustainable farming practices.
We’re proud to be a “Grown in America” business. Find our products today in honor of National Made in America Month!