Hollandia Produce: The Best of 2014

December 17, 2014 | post a comment

As 2014 winds down, we’re reminded of how far we’ve come and how much further we hope go. Yet, before we rush into a whirlwind of New Year’s goals, let’s first acknowledge the seasonal milestones that our staff, customers and consumers have helped us to achieve.

Winter –Sowing the Seeds of Distinction

stacks_image_50While January is always a busy month, we started this year on a particularly high note. All of our living lettuce and living cress products became Non-GMO Project verified! With our ongoing commitment to using only all-natural ingredients in the production of our crops, whether conventional or organic, we were very pleased to receive thisWatercress and Upland Cress Named Superfoods distinction.

Additionally, our Live Gourmet Living Upland Cress and Grower Pete’s Organic Living Watercress products became Antioxidant Super Food Certified by SCS Global Services. Both products contain 127% higher antioxidant density than the USDA reported averages and high levels of magnesium, lutein, phosphorous, potassium, iron, beta-carotene, and vitamins A, B1, B6, C, E and K.

Spring – Food Safety First

In March, we demonstrated our commitment to food safety when we earned 100 percent compliance in all three key areas of our Primus GFS certification audit. These included: Food Safety Management, Good Agriculture Practices (GAP)/Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) and Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP).

salad bar dedicationThe following month, we participated in one of our most gratifying initiatives. As supporters of the United Fresh Foundation’s “Let’s Move Salad Bars to California Schools” campaign, we donated two salad bars to the Conejo Valley Unified School District. This effort helped to provide children better access to healthy lunches and, hopefully, influence their families to make healthier food choices overall and increase their intake of fruits and vegetables.

Summer — On the Road… Again

By mid-year, we were busy traversing the country as an exhibitor at some of our industry’s most important trade events, including United Fresh and the Midwest Produce Expo, both held in Chicago and, the trendsetting PMA Food Service show held in annually in Monterey, CA.

Autumn — Planning for the Future

In October, we experienced record attendance at the year’s most prominent event: The PMA Fresh Summit. Here, we gave key customers a sneak peak at new product plans, and met with a variety of companies to explore strategic partnerships and opportunities to leverage upcoming trends.

Yet, through it all, we continued to push forward on our biggest accomplishment to date: our facility expansion in Oxnard, CA. Recently, the entire Hollandia Produce staff toured the property and witnessed prolific progress being made including new grow houses and other technological innovations. It was truly an exciting day.

Thematically, 2014 could be described as the year of the “shun”, not as in exclusion, but rather the appreciation for our certification, verification, expansion, and most, importantly, the lasting impression these efforts have had on all of us as we bid farewell to another year!

Labels: Butter Lettuce, Eat Leafy Greens for Nutrition, Hollandia Produce Clean Farming, Hollandia Produce Team, Organic Watercress

Holiday Party Watercress Cocktail

December 2, 2014 | post a comment

Picture from Hemispheres Magazine of recipe creator: Austin Carson

Picture from Hemispheres Magazine of recipe creator: Austin Carson

Have you ever heard of a “croptail?” Neither had we, until we found this watercress cocktail recipe from Hemispheres Magazine. A “croptail” is a vegetable-based cocktail, such as a Bloody Mary. Austin Carson, from Denver’s Mizuna restaurant, wanted to venture beyond the usual concoctions, so he created the Prudence and Hammersmith.

Despite its alcohol content, the Prudence and Hammersmith is packed with essential vitamins and nutrients, including cancer-fighting antioxidants. After all, watercress is the world’s most nutrient-dense superfood.

Why not wow your guests with this unexpected, vibrant green cocktail? With our added festive garnish of pomegranate arils, this drink perfectly complements any holiday event.

Ingredients

1 Package of Grower Pete’s Organic Living Watercress or Live Gourmet® Living Upland Cress

3/8 oz. of simple syrup

2 oz. of dry gin

1 splash of ginger beer (of choice)

¾ oz. of fresh squeezed lime juice

Ice

Optional: pomegranate arils (since the drink is thick thinly cut strawberries would also work) and or a lime peel wheel

Directions 

Remove the watercress or upland cress roots and stems, then wash and dry the leaves thoroughly. Next, muddle the watercress in a cocktail shaker. Add the fresh lime juice and simple syrup and shake well. Add the gin, ginger beer and ice and shake everything together well. Using a strainer, pour mixture into a cocktail or wine glass of choice. Top with a lime peel wheel or pomegranate seeds to add festive holiday color. Toast the holidays!

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

Sautéed Watercress with Cranberries, Pine Nuts and Raisins for Thanksgiving

November 25, 2014 | post a comment

live-gourmet-thanksgiving-watercress-recipe

Thanksgiving week is finally here! To show our thanks, we wanted to share a recipe that
not only complements the seasonal flavors of this classic holiday meal, but also is packed with flavor and nutrition. Best of all, this scrumptious superfood recipe is quick and easy to prepare.

Ingredients

(Serves 4)

3 bags of Grower Pete’s Organic Living Watercress or Live Gourmet® Living Upland Cress

¼ cup of golden raisins

¼ cup of dried, sweetened cranberries  live-gourmet-thanksgiving-watercress-recipe

2 large cloves of garlic

1 and ½ tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

¼ cup of pine nuts

Salt and pepper

Directions

Soak the cranberries and raisins in a small bowl filled with hot water, and set aside while you prepare the rest of the meal. Tear off the roots of the watercress or upland cress, rinse the greens thoroughly, dry and set aside.  live-gourmet-living-upland-cress

Next, heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Finely chop up the garlic cloves and sauté in the hot olive oil until golden brown. Then add in the pine nuts for a minute or two stirring constantly. Strain your raisins and cranberries and then add them to the skillet. Fold in cress and cook until the greens are wilted. Season this dish to taste with salt and pepper spice, and serve! That’s all it takes to make the perfect, nutritional holiday side!

 

Labels: Holidays by Hollandia Produce, Organic Watercress, Organic Watercress Recipes, Upland Cress Recipes, Vegan Recipes, Vegetarian Recipes

Spicy Tofu Butter Lettuce Wraps for Vegan Month

November 18, 2014 | post a comment

Nowadays, people become vegan for many reasons. It may be as a stance against animal cruelty, to reduce their carbon footprint, or simply as a healthy lifestyle choice. While we don’t purport to be anti-meat or dairy, as you may have gathered from our previous recipe posts, we do agree that a diet filled with fruits and vegetables is extremely beneficial.

In fact, a plant-based diet is rich in vitamins and minerals, and tends to be high-fiber and low-fat. According to the American Dietetic Association, vegetarians and vegans are generally at a lower risk for developing heart disease, diabetes, obesity, hypertension, and several forms of cancer. Yet, to prevent any kind of chronic disease, vegetarians and vegans, as well as meat-eaters, need to consume a well-balanced diet to stay healthy.

That’s why we’re honoring National Vegan Month with this vegan recipe from Tablespoon.com that, we believe, will please any palate.

Spicy Tofu Butter Lettuce Wrap Ingredients 

Photo by Girl Versus Dough from tablespoon.com

Photo by Girl Versus Dough from tablespoon.com

4 Tsp vegetable oil

3 Tbsp. Soy sauce

1 block (12 oz.) of extra-firm tofu, patted dry and cut into 1-inch squares

2 Tsp minced garlic

2 c. Cole slaw mix

1 red bell pepper, cut into 1 or 2 inch stripes

1 Tbsp. minced fresh ginger

½ Tsp red pepper flakes (can be modified to reduce or increase heat)

2 Tbsp. plum sauce

1 head Live Gourmet® Living Butter Lettuce or Grower Pete’s Organic Living Butter Lettuce

½ Tsp. Sriracha hot sauce (can be modified to reduce or increase heat)

2 thinly sliced green onions

2 Tbsp. chopped cilantro

Directions

Heat two teaspoons of vegetable oil over medium heat. Add in tofu and cook for 10 minutes or until evenly browned on both sides. Next, add in one tablespoon of soy sauce and cook for 5 more minutes, stirring frequently. Remove tofu and set aside.

Next, heat remaining vegetable oil over medium heat. Add in bell peppers, Cole slaw, ginger, garlic, red pepper flakes and Sriracha sauce, upon preference. Cook for 5 – 10 minutes or until the bell peppers are slightly soft, stirring occasionally. After, add in the remaining soy sauce and heat for 3 more minutes. Fold in plum sauce and tofu and gently mix together.

Finally, remove butter lettuce leaves, rinse and pat dry. Spoon the tofu mixture into the individual leaves, and sprinkle with green onions and cilantro. Next, enjoy the healthy goodness!

Labels: Butter Lettuce, Butter Lettuce Recipes, Eat Leafy Greens for Nutrition, Eating "Butter", Grower Pete's Organic Living Butter Lettuce, Vegan Recipes, Vegetarian Recipes

Butter, Boston, and Bibb lettuce: What’s the Difference?

November 12, 2014 | post a comment

What’s the difference between Butter, Boston and Bibb lettuce? Why do these varieties all look the same? Why do recipes and food guides use their names interchangeably? If you have asked any of these questions, you’re not alone. Many consumers today find the naming scheme of this variety very confusing.  Live-Gourmet-Butter-Lettuce

The fact is, with its appearance, texture and taste nearly indistinguishable, Butter, Boston and Bibb lettuce is ostensibly the same variety known under the category moniker: Butterhead. Bibb, however, is a slightly smaller version of the variety and is the first of this cultivar to be grown in the U.S.

To understand the nomenclature and how these varieties became co-mingled, let’s briefly examine the history of lettuce through the ages. Lettuce originated in Egypt, with some of the earliest recordings of this vegetable dating back to 2680 B.C. The vegetable then spread to Greece, Rome and later throughout Europe.

There are three main types of lettuce that we know of today.

  1. Head lettuce – This comprises Crisphead, more commonly known as Iceberg, named for the way it was transported on ice in the early 1920s, and Butterhead. This variety most resembles cabbage for its lighter green leaves and tightly formed heads.
  2. Romaine or Cos — This is named for its darker green leaves and elongated heads. Romaine lettuce was first grown in the Papal gardens in Rome, giving this variety its present day name of Romaine. The Greeks called this variety Cos from the Greek Island of Kos where it was grown.
  3. Leaf lettuce — This is known for its very loosely formed heads, often grown in rich shades of green, reddish purple and/or a combination of the two.

These three main categories have been formally acknowledged in horticulture since the late 1500s, when Joachim Camerarius published one of the earliest herbals. Between 1586 and the early 18th century many of the basic types of heirloom lettuces that we know of today began to advance in France, Italy, and Holland.

Lettuce seeds were later brought to the U.S., where they continued to evolve and progress. However, seedsmen did not record lettuce seeds as well as other vegetables, so it has been difficult to distinguish the histories of some of the most popular varieties today. This fact has added to the confusion of the Butterhead variety.

Bibb lettuce is believed to have originated in Frankfort, Kentucky between 1865 and 1870 by Major John “Jack” Bibb, an amateur horticulturist who grew this variety in a greenhouse in his yard. Around 1870, he began sharing his variety with the town’s people who coined it Bibb’s lettuce. Thirty-five years later, the lettuce was cultivated conventionally and began to gain widespread popularity, especially during the 1950s. Later, around 1980, this lettuce began to gain favor as a preferred variety for hydroponic greenhouse growers.

Modern day Butter lettuce, like ours, seems to have originated from the old lettuce known as Silesia. This variety dates as far back as 1744, when an 18th century work called Adam’s Luxury and Eve’s Cookery published a list of lettuce varieties, including this one. It didn’t receive its modern Butter lettuce name until much later, when a company called Slazers began selling it by the deceptive name German Butter lettuce, denoting it was a new variety to increase its sales.

Butter-Lettuce-Warps While it’s difficult to corroborate the accuracy of these historical accounts as they apply to modern day Butterhead lettuce, we can say for certain that Butter, Boston and Bibb lettuce can be used interchangeably, given their similar textures and flavor profiles. We also know that given its smooth, tender, yet strong leaves, and mildly sweet flavor, Butterhead lettuce is an ideal ingredient for almost any meal, including salads, sandwiches, soups, smoothies and wraps. And, unlike Iceberg, it’s packed with essential nutrients and vitamins, particularly A, C and K.

At Hollandia Produce, all of our living butter lettuce products, including our certified organic brand known as Grower Pete’s, are hydroponically greenhouse-grown. This method allows us to maintain a clean growing environment and minimize external factors that could otherwise affect our crops. Additionally, our products are Non-GMO Project Verified and free of pesticide residue and field debris, and packaged in clear, plastic, protective shells that function as mini greenhouses. We also package our lettuce with their roots still attached. This ensures our butter lettuce products stay fresher, longer than other varieties. Grower-Pete's-Organic-Butter-Lettuce

Whether you call it, Butter, Boston or Bibb lettuce, we encourage you to pick up some today, and tell us how you enjoy this versatile variety!

Labels: Butter Lettuce, Lettuce Teach You Something, Live Gourmet Products, Organic Butter Lettuce

Hollandia Produce Sponsors Walk for Hope

November 2, 2014 | post a comment

At Hollandia Produce, we believe a diet rich in healthy fruits and vegetables and regular exercise are fruit-and-veggieskeys to better health and cancer prevention. That’s why we are proud to sponsor today’s Walk for Hope on November 2, 2014 and help support the City of Hope in its efforts to raise awareness and funds to fight these sometimes fatal diseases.

Every year, far too many women must battle breast and gynecologic cancers. These are the women we love: our mothers, our wives, our sisters and our friends. Walk for Hope is a movement that unites survivors and supporters — women, men and children — in the fight against women’s cancers.

walk-for-hope

Hope is on the horizon, and your commitment can make a difference. If you would like to join us in this effort, you can set your fitness goal, or simply donate what you can. Together, we can build a world without women’s cancers.

 

Labels: Eat Leafy Greens for Nutrition, Hollandia Produce Sponsorships

Butternut Squash Salad Recipe for Halloween

October 30, 2014 | post a comment

With changing colors, cooler temps and pumpkins abound, there’s no doubt autumn has arrived. What better way to celebrate Halloween than with our festive, original recipe for Butternut Squash Salad served in a pumpkin bowl? Whether served as a Halloween party buffet centerpiece in a large pumpkin or plated individually in mini pumpkins, this recipe will delight your guests and deliver a burst of flavor and nutrition in every bite.

hollandia-produce-pumpkin-butternut-squash-salad

Salad Ingredients:

(You may not need the full amount of recommended ingredients depending on the size of the salad.)

1 medium-to-large pumpkin (for a party-size serving)    hollandia-produce-butter-lettuce

Or, X mini pumpkins (for individual servings)

1 (1.17 pound) package of boneless, skinless, chicken breast tenders  

3/4 cup of Olive Oil (to cook chicken and squash)

Salt and pepper

½ lemon

1 (3.5 oz.) package of dried cranberries

1 (3.5 oz.) package of candied walnuts or pecans (or, to candy the nuts yourself, follow this recipe: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/dawns-candied-walnuts)

1 (4 oz.) log of goat cheese

2-3 packages of pre-cut butternut squash (or 1 whole butternut squash)

1-2 heads of Live Gourmet® Living Butter Lettuce, or Grower Pete’s Certified Organic Living Butter Lettuce

Dressing Ingredients:          hollandia-produce-pumpkin

¼ cup red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon honey

¾ cup olive oil

Directions:

  1. Carve the pumpkin as you would for a jack-o-lantern. Carve out a lid wider than hollandia-produce-butternut-squashusual to create the serving bowl. Next, scrape out and remove stringy, pumpkin innards until the interior is completely smooth. (To save time, prepare pumpkin(s) up to 2 days ahead.)
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Place butternut squash pieces on a cookie sheet (if cooking a full squash cut in half and place skin side down) drizzle with olive oil and lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 20 -30 minutes, or until tender.
  3. Let squash cool (for full squash, peel away outer skin and cut into 1” squares).
  4. While squash is cooking, place chicken tenders in a skillet over medium heat. Hollandia-produce-cooked-chicken
    Squeeze the lemon juice over the chicken. Next, drizzle chicken with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook until chicken is tender or no longer pink.
  5. In a small mixing bowl or carafe, stir all dressing ingredients together.
  6. Remove butter lettuce leaves from head. Wash thoroughly and pat dry with paper towel or a salad spinner.
  7. In a separate mixing bowl, mix gently torn lettuce leaves, chicken and squash in a
    bowl. Crumple goat cheese over lettuce; add nuts and cranberries and gently toss.
  8. Transfer salad to mini pumpkins or large serving pumpkin.
  9. Pour a light coating of dressing over pumpkin filled salad and serve.                               hollandia-produce-pumpkin-butternut-squash-salad                               

Labels: Butter Lettuce, Butter Lettuce Recipes, Eat Leafy Greens for Nutrition, Holidays by Hollandia Produce, Organic Butter Lettuce

Cashew Chicken Butter Lettuce Wraps

October 22, 2014 | post a comment

Time to get a little nutty. In honor of National Nut Day, here’s a new wholesome and scrumptious gluten-free, Cashew Chicken Butter Lettuce Wrap recipe from shescookin.com. This quick and warm meal is perfect for the autumn weather, and the best part about it is, it’s also ideal for leftovers.

Photo by Priscilla Willis from shescookin.com

Photo by Priscilla Willis from shescookin.com

Ingredients

(Servings: 3)

2 Large chicken breasts

2 green onions

4 beet greens or  Swiss chard leaves and stems

½ cup of low-sodium chicken broth

½ cup of peanut butter

1 teaspoon of sesame oil

2 tablespoons of sunflower oil or peanut oil

¼ cup of cashews

2 tablespoons of coconut aminos

1 tablespoon of sesame seeds

10 Live Gourmet or Grower Pete’s Organic Living Butter Lettuce leaves

Directions

  1. Chop vegetables and chicken breasts into half inch pieces.
  2. Heat sesame and sunflower oils over medium heat. Add chopped veggies and cook for 2 -3 minutes, until wilted. Remove greens from the skillet and set aside.
  3. Stir fry chicken pieces in hot oils for about 8 minutes or until they’re no longer pink. Remove and add the chicken pieces to the cooked greens.
  4. Add peanut butter and coconut aminos to the hot oils and stir together until thickened. Next, add in chicken broth and continue stirring until well mixed. Fold in the cashews, sesame seeds, and chicken and greens mixture. Transfer to a serving bowl.
  5. Remove the butter lettuce leaves from the head. Rinse and pat dry.
  6. Go “nutty’ and create your own wrap!

 

Labels: Butter Lettuce, Butter Lettuce Recipes, Eat Leafy Greens for Nutrition, Eating "Butter", Fresh Eating Tips, Fresh Home Recipes, Healthy Eating Tips, Organic Butter Lettuce

How PMA Fresh Summit Impacts Our Business

October 15, 2014 | post a comment

fork-and-knife-lettuceFarm to fork is a familiar expression among many consumers today. Yet, the journey from product conception to consumer adoption is a bit more involved than many folks realize. At Hollandia Produce, our ability to harvest and deliver fresh produce daily to your local grocer is due in part to our valued network of leading national retailers, wholesalers and distributors. That’s why we’re thrilled to be exhibiting at the PMA Fresh Summit Expo on October 18 and 19 in Anaheim, CA.Live_Gourmet_booth

This trade event and others like it, allows us to take a valuable “time out” and visit with our channel partners and friends. More importantly, it provides us the opportunity to test new ideas and meet and engage with thousands of buyers and potential buyers of fresh produce, who offer us invaluable insight on current trends and your product preferences.

This weekend, in booth 3016, we will be showcasing our Live Gourmet® and Grower Pete’s brands of living butter lettuce as well as our Upland Cress and certified organic living watercress.

Rich in antioxidants, phytonutrients and essential vitamins, watercress is quickly becoming the new kale. Recently, the Center for Disease Control published a study naming watercress as the most nutrient-dense food available. That’s why we’re not too surprised that the Watercress Alliance (which represents UK growers, suppliers and packers of watercress) has just launched the “Good for Every Body” public awareness campaign. Their watercress initiative will help spread the nutritional good news, and encourage our fellow stateside pundits of the peppery leafy green to help push demand as well.
If you would like to learn more, follow us on social media, where we’ll be sharing our favorite cress recipes and giving you the chance to be featured as a guest blogger in an upcoming post.

Labels: Eat Leafy Greens for Nutrition, Organic Watercress

Hollandia Produce Honors SB Food Bank

October 7, 2014 | post a comment

Stop Hunger.jpgThis week is National Food Bank week. And to honor this occasion, we’d like to recognize the hard work and dedication of our friends and partners at the Santa Barbara Food Bank. Each year, this non-profit organization distributes the equivalent of roughly three quarters of a million meals a month. These efforts are made possible through corporate food donations made by organizations like ours throughout the County.

However, as the drought continues to escalate and mandates on water use become stricter, demand for fresh produce donations will continue to intensify. We’re grateful that we can help to fulfill a portion of this need. Each week, Hollandia Produce, L.P. donates thousands of heads of our Live Gourmet® Living Butter Lettuce and hundreds of bunches of our Upland Cress. The food bank then redistributes donations like ours to families and children in need through its network of nearly 300 non-profit organizations. Hollandia Greenhouse

One reason Hollandia Produce is able to be a consistent food bank contributor is our farming method. Conventional field-grown crops are reliant on the weather for their annual yield. Hollandia’s crops are protected and nurtured by our greenhouses and our hydroponic growing practices. Our growing methods allow us to reduce our water consumption by up to 84% over conventional farming. This means we’re less impacted by seasonal and long-term climate changes and able to more consistently respond to growing produce demands.

Food DonationsYet, despite our best efforts and those of our fellow corporate donors, Santa Barbara Food Bank is still in serious need of more help. It’s hard to believe, but according to the SB Food Bank, only 14 counties in all of California have more of a food insecurity problem than Santa Barbara County.   Hunger is a widespread issue across our nation, and Food Banks rely on donations and volunteer efforts from individuals as well as businesses everywhere. Now is your chance to help! Find out how you too can donate, by locating your nearest Food Bank at feedingamerica.org, and if you are member of Santa Barbara County visit foodbanksbc.org. Share this post with your neighbors and friends, so together, we can all make a difference.

Labels: Butter Lettuce, Hollandia Produce Clean Farming, Live Gourmet News, Upland Cress Recipes