The Lettuce Be Fresh Blog’s Top Five Summery Picks

September 4, 2015 | post a comment


As summer comes to a close, commemorate the season by preparing tasty, warm weather-inspired recipes this Labor Day weekend. Need some ideas? We’re here to help! We’ve opened our “recipe vault,” and rounded up our favorite Live Gourmet® summer dishes just for you and your families.

The Lettuce Be Fresh Blog’s Top Five Summery Picks

  1. Stone Fruit SaladIf stone fruits are still at your local market, choose a few types (or feel free to improvise if they’re no longer available) and assemble this antioxidant-laden salad as a side for your picnic or barbecue. Don’t forget the most essential and nutritious ingredient, our Live Gourmet® Brand Living Upland Cress! 
  1. Are you known to bring the experimental dish to the family gathering? If so, this Food52 -influenced Raspberry Miso dressing is the recipe for you. The unexpected ingredients meld together just right to create the ultimate refreshing answer to your summer salad.
  1. Did you know our Living Butter Lettuce is the imperative ingredient in the award-winning “Summer Present”? A delightful finger food, the snuggly wrapped raw confection is equally satisfying and easy to pack in your picnic basket.
  1. Hot-and-Spicy-Food-Day-300x290These Asian Turkey Lettuce Cups will add a bit of spice to your holiday spread. For those who enjoy a bit of heat in their fare, the fiery filling with the mild and velvety Living Butter Lettuce will not disappoint. 
  1. 3-in-1-Lettuce-Salad-and-Pasta-150x150

    Photo by: Nicole Franzen

    If a low-key and intimate affair is more your speed, whip up this Italian pairing which includes our Living 3-in-1 Lettuce. Its fresh ingredients will have you and your dinner partner thinking you’re dining on the coast of Tuscany. 

Whether you’re planning one last hurrah with the whole clan or having a toned-down meal with your most inner circle, our Living Watercress and Lettuces will help you usher in the new adventures and, of course, tastes of fall.

Labels: Lettuce Be Fresh

Food Safety is on our Radar

August 27, 2015 | post a comment


PrimusGFS-Certified-Live-Gourmet-ProductsAccording to a recent consumer study,  Daymon Worldwide’s Custom Shopper Insight revealed that 50 percent of 1,000 surveyed adults indicated they were more concerned now about food safety than five years ago. At Hollandia Produce, we’re very aware of rising food safety concerns.  That’s why we’d like to share with you how our hydroponic process and unique clamshell packaging ensures food safety!



  1. For starters, our hydroponic growing method means that our leafy green products are grown above ground and in state-of-the-art custom greenhouses which protect our harvest from possible contaminants. Yup – no dirt!
  2. Grown in their own ecosystem, our tender greens are continuously monitored by our team of growers and our sophisticated greenhouse technology to ensure they’re safe for consumption.
  3. In addition to our watchful eye, our growing techniques are rigorously evaluated on an annual basis by , a Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) auditor covering both Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) scopes, as well as Food Safety Management Systems (FSMS). With consistently climbing scores, our facilities continue to receive top ratings.
  4. Moreover, when it comes to our living butter lettuce, we continue our commitment to food safety by placing each head in its own cozy, recyclable, clamshell. In addition to serving as a mini greenhouse, our clamshell helps maintain Hollandia’s pledge to food safety while on its journey from our farm to your table.
  5. Lastly, we code date every product we sell. Not only does this ensure you’re getting the freshest product available, we can trace every unit back to the seed lot we purchased it from.

At Hollandia Produce, we strive to have a name synonymous with food safety. From sowing to harvesting, every phase in our produce lifecycle places food safety as number one.

Labels: Food Safety, Hollandia Produce Clean Farming, Lettuce Teach You Something

Power Up Your Salad This August

August 12, 2015 | post a comment


Salads are often described as the most holy of diet foods. Yet they sometimes leave us hungry shortly after chowing down, and in other instances, we tend to load them with empty-calorie toppings such as mayonnaise-based dressings, dried fruit and croutons. Both scenarios aren’t helping us get a handle on maintaining a healthy diet. But with a little research, it’s simple to find a number of equally nutritious and delicious ingredients to power up your salad.

Salad ingredients lay on a wooden cutting board, including anchovies tin, pink sea salt, a bunch of Living Upland Cress, eggs and few cloves of garlicIn fact, you probably have one in your fridge right now: eggs. According to a Purdue University study, individuals who consumed whole eggs with raw vegetables increased their absorption of carotenoids, important antioxidants that help protect the body from cellular damage. Another economical food with a surprising number of health benefits are anchovies. The notoriously pungent pizza topping is high in omega-3 fatty acids, which help lower triglycerides, reduce blood clots and even prevent heart disease and stroke.

For a bit of crunch to your salad, add chopped walnuts. The cranium-looking food has been reported to improve cognitive health, leading scientists to use the nut in Alzheimer’s research.

Last but certainly not least, add our antioxidant rich Live Gourmet® Brand Living Upland Cress and Grower’s Pete Organic Living Watercress to complete the ultimate salad filled with plenty of protein, vitamins and minerals.


A bowl of Living Upland Cress with a soft boiled eggSimple Protein Salad (for 4)

Ingredients for salad mix:

1 bunch of Live Gourmet® Brand Living Upland Cress

4 eggs

¼ Cup of Chopped Walnuts

Ingredients for dressing:

4-6 anchovies chopped

1 garlic clove

1 tablespoon of whole-grain dijon mustard

1 teaspoon of worcestershire sauce

1/3 cup of olive oil

Rock salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Directions for dressing:

  1. Chop the garlic and anchovies
  2. Place the garlic, anchovies, mustard and worcestershire sauce in a food processor and process for approximately 30 seconds till all of the ingredients are fine and mixed together
  3. Begin slowly pouring the olive oil through the processor’s tube while you continue to puree the other ingredients until the oil is evenly mixed in

Directions for salad:

  1. Wash and trim the stems off of the Live Gourmet® Brand Living Upland Cress
  2. Boil the eggs for five minutes then run them immediately under cold water to prevent them from continuing to cook
  3. Toss the greens with the dressing creating an even coat on the leaves
  4. Sprinkle the walnuts on top
  5. Slice each egg in half and place two halves on top of each individual salad


Labels: Upland Cress Recipes

Veggies are the New Center of the Plate Attraction

August 6, 2015 | post a comment


A plethora of fresh summer vegetables ranging in colors of yellow, orange and greenThe term “center of the plate” is being tossed around in kitchens and restaurants across the country. Lately, the phrase isn’t referring to flank steak with au jus or roasted chicken. Instead, chefs and amateur cooks have experimented by moving vegetables to the forefront of our meals while shifting meat to a supporting role.

Part of the reason for this change is the increasing interest in reducing one’s carbon footprint. Individuals can take charge by consuming more local produce (about 11% of the greenhouse emissions involved in food production are linked to food transportation) and limiting their meat and poultry intake to a few times per week. According to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization, the livestock industry is responsible for 14.5% of greenhouse gases while vegetables have a significantly less impact.

Eggs, Quinoa and Butter Lettuce

Image by: Lidia Haddadian

Want to try veggie-centric meals that are good for the environment yet filling and delicious? While perusing social media channels, you can find “green” recipes that range from elaborate to simple. If you’re in need of a quick weekday dish, combine protein-rich eggs and quinoa on a bed of our Living Butter Lettuce as foodie Lidia Haddadian dreamt up. It’s a great meal that is easy on both your waistband and wallet!

If you’re looking to create not only a tasty dish but also a beautiful one, look no further than to Petit World Citizen’s Cauliflower Steak. Frying or roasting the cruciferous veggie allows its thick stem to become tender and meaty. Add our Living Watercress (a cruciferous cousin) for a flavorful dinner that is chock full of vitamins D and C.

Begin experimenting at home with the plethora of vegetables that are in season this month. The seasonal food guide is a great reference for locating which produce is in season in your own region. Pair your favorites with our versatile Live Gourmet® Living Butter Lettuce or superfood powerhouses Live Gourmet® brand Living Upland Cress and Grower Pete’s Organic brand Living Watercress for a one-of-a-kind herbivorous dish!


Labels: Lettuce Be Green

Shake up your Summer Fare with North Shore Living Herbs®

July 30, 2015 | post a comment

A few different type of herbs on a chopping block being chopped by a chef's hand

North Shore Living Herbs®

At the height of summer, fresh vegetables abound in our gardens, our neighborhood grocery stores and farmers’ markets. In addition to seasonal produce, an array of herbs are widely available in the balmier months. Herbs like basil, chives, parsley and sage thrive this time of year due to the typically drier and hotter climate. Our friends at North Shore Living Herbs® grow a variety of fresh seasonings that will surely boost flavor to your summer cuisine. Experiment this August by trying your hand at the following recipes that combine herbs and our line of products.

Watermelon, watercress and basil salad.

Grilled watermelon salad.

Bon Appetit’s Grilled Watermelon Salad includes exotic ingredients like pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds) and queso fresco, which are balanced by fresh greens and charred juicy fruit. Add North Shore Living Herbs® Basil and our Living Watercress to the innovative salad!

Are you a pasta lover who can’t live without your favorite starch even in the heat? Try Saveur’s summer twist on bolognese. Bright cherry tomatoes and a sweet wine sauce replaces cream and marinara to lighten up the classic dish. North Shore Living Herbs® Basil and Thyme will heighten the pasta’s flavor and vibrant colors. To round out the meal, whip up this Epicurious-inspired Living Butter Lettuce, Parsley and Mint Salad. Talk about a symphony of flavors for your taste buds!

Packs of North Share Living Herbs Mint stacked on a grocery store shelf

North Shore Living Herbs®

You’ve probably read that our Living Butter Lettuce and Watercress contain a number of essential vitamins and minerals. But did you know that many herbs and spices are also beneficial to a well-balanced diet? Combine Hollandia Produce products and North Shore Living Herbs® like in the above recipes for the ultimate healthy meal!

Labels: Fresh Eating Tips

Hollandia Produce Heads to the PMA Food Service Conference

July 23, 2015 | post a comment


Here’s a sneak peak at the Hollandia Produce tradeshow booth being launched at Expo West #5050. The new messaging aims to complement its living wall of lettuce and showcase the company’s upcoming consumer merchandising campaign.

Live Gourmet® and our certified organic Grower Pete’s brands of living lettuce and leafy greens have been popular national sellers for years. Yet, what many of  our patrons don’t know is that we’re found on many restaurant menus. That’s why this weekend we’re heading to Monterey, CA to showcase our latest offerings at the annual Produce Marketing Association (PMA) Food Service Conference on July 26 in booth 148.

Supplying food service purveyors and commercial kitchens requires a different approach than grocery retail, where most consumers are used to seeing our produce. In this environment, we must stay abreast of food and nutritional trends, chefs’ demands, as well as changing food safety and packaging requirements.  The PMA Food Service show helps us stay current and demonstrate how we’re meeting these changes.

One of the more current trends is chefs adding more superfoods to today’s menus. Looking beyond kale and spinach as nutrient-dense ingredients, some chains, like our customer The Cheesecake Factory, have discovered that watercress’ peppery profile and recipe versatility is an ideal alternative. Here, chefs serve steak on a bed of our Upland Cress, to deliver complementary flavors and rich concentration of antioxidants, phytonutrients, lutein and Vitamins A, C and K.

Supporting sustainable farming is another trend food service providers ardently support. Initiatives like Farm-to-Fork are nearly standard operating procedure. Though sometimes demand can exceed local supply. Providers who service large hotel chains, hospitals, and schools rely also on growers like Hollandia Produce. That’s because our hydroponic greenhouse growing methods can meet food service demand for clean and sustainable farming while meeting their large capacity requirements.

Live Gourmet® and our certified organic Grower Pete’s brands of living lettuce and leafy greens are versatile, healthy ingredients for food service establishments and individuals alike. Whether you’re a farm-to-table proprietor, a cook in a school or you’re your family’s resident chef, you can count on our products being flavorful additions to any number of meals.

Labels: Live Gourmet News

Make the Most of your Garden Fresh Vegetables with Live Gourmet

July 15, 2015 | post a comment

FullSizeRenderBalmy evenings and dining alfresco are reasons enough to love summer. We have one more: an abundance of fresh, in-season produce. Whether you harvest from your backyard garden, your local farmer’s market, or your neighborhood grocery or produce store, we recommend you take your summer recipes for a walk on the wild side by pairing your favorite seasonal fruits and veggies with our versatile living butter lettuce and superfood powerhouses upland cress and living organic watercress.

Why not start with one of NPR’s popular blog suggestions?  The Salt shares “What to do with Weird Farmer’s Market Vegetables”. You may come across an odd bulbous-shaped vegetable which is called kohlrabi. Don’t be scared of its tough exterior. This cousin of the turnip is refreshing when thinly sliced and paired with tender butter lettuce leaves, as recommended in Food 52’s Kohlrabi Salad with Lemon Caper Dressing.

Fruits displayed at a neighborhood farmer's marketAdding colorful fruits like tart cherries and sweet peaches to summer salads is another way to enjoy summer’s bounty. Try making our Stone Fruit Watercress Salad as a light, refreshing and healthy side dish to grilled chicken breast or salmon filet.

Stone Fruit Salad in a glass bowlStone Fruit Watercress Salad


1 bunch of Live Gourmet® Brand Living Upland Cress

2 small ripe peaches

A handful of tart cherries

¼ cup of chopped walnuts

¼ cup of shredded parmesan cheese

Drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar

  1. Wash and trim Live Gourmet® Brand Living Upland Cress
  2. Cut the peaches in bit-size pieces
  3. Cut the cherries in half and pit them
  4. Chop the walnuts
  5. Mix the ingredients and top with parmesan cheese
  6. Drizzle olive oil and balsamic vinegar

Now, pour yourself a glass of home-made lemonade, iced tea, or a crisp white wine and enjoy your garden fresh meal!

Labels: Fresh Eating Tips

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

July 1, 2015 | 2 Comments

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