Hollandia Produce Celebrates 44 Years in Business

September 18, 2014 | post a comment

On September 20, 2014, Hollandia Produce, L.P. celebrates its 44th anniversary. The company’s roots trace back nearly 100 years to Holland, where CEO Pete Overgaag’s grandfather Leo first began farming. Although we have remained a family run business, Hollandia has undergone many changes. In honor of our storied past, here’s a peak at some of our most memorable milestones. It’s true what they say, time really does fly when you’re having fun!

Milestones in Time


Art Overgaag, Hollandia Produce founder at his first greenhouse in Holland.

1920: Leo Overgaag began farming in Holland and soon after adopted “flat glass” agriculture technology, which uses the same basic concepts greenhouses do today. A few years later he installed the family’s first greenhouses and began growing a variety of vegetables.

1953: At age 19, Art Overgaag, Pete’s father, started his own nursery in Den Hoorn, Holland, growing tomatoes in the spring and summer and lettuce in the winter.

1968: Art moved to America with his wife and four children (three of whom still work for the company). Soon after arriving in New York, Art moved the family to California, where he began working as a groundskeeper for a large Montecito estate.


Present day greenhouse at Hollandia Produce.

1970: Art bought the Carpinteria property where Hollandia Produce operates today and officially began greenhouse operations, growing cut flowers. As business flourished, Art later purchased the adjacent property to expand Hollandia’s footprint.

1987: Pete Overgaag and his brother Leo began shifting the family crops from cut flowers to greenhouse grown vegetables. This is also the same year Leo formed Hollandia Produce’s sister company: North Shore Living Herbs and the company landed its first retail account.

1989: Art retired from the day-to-day business and let his children take over.

1997: Hollandia harvested its first hydroponically greenhouse grown lettuce crop. This is the same lettuce we grow today!

1998: Hollandia launched a multi-city radio campaign promoting its Live Gourmet® line of living lettuce and leafy greens (listen to radio spot).live-gourmet-on-the-radio

2000: As sales for its lettuce crop began to grow, Hollandia began phasing out its tomato and cucumber crops and focused on growing its lettuce and cress products with their roots still attached.

live_gourmet_greens_on_tv2004: Live Gourmet® went national with commercials airing on such channels as Food Network, Lifetime and HGTV (watch TV commercial) and a specialty feature with PBS’ Huell Howser.

2005: Hollandia brand went mobile with the introduction of its graphically enhanced trucksHollandia-Produce-truck

2011: New Oxnard, California facility began production of Grower Pete’s certified organic brand of hydroponically greenhouse grown lettuce and watercress.stacks_image_69 Hollandia also earned the PMA Impact Award for its innovative, clamshell package design, called the Squircle.


Showing their support for the Netherland’s during the 2014 World Cup, the Overgaag family thoroughly enjoys the summer family reunion.

2014: Twenty two members of the Overgaag family return to Holland to celebrate Art’s and Magda’s 55th wedding anniversary. Art was ecstatic to share his hometown and visit the original Hollandia farm for the first time with his grandchildren, especially while the Netherlands were winning in the World Cup.

As you can see, it’s been a busy few decades. We’re proud to share our journey and look forward to many more successful years to come. Thanks for all of your support!

Labels: Holidays by Hollandia Produce, Hollandia Produce Team

Dos and Don’ts for Extending Leafy Greens

September 10, 2014 | post a comment


How frustrating is it when you have to discard unused leafy greens, because they wilted before you had the opportunity to eat them? This is bound to happen with fresh produce. Fortunately, you can extend the shelf life of your leafy greens and to help you, we’ve compiled this list of dos and don’ts.


  1. Do choose living leafy greens with their roots still attached such as our Live Gourmet® or our certified organic Grower Pete’s brands; they preserve freshness longer (usually 5-7 days) than conventionally grown greens.
  2. Do store living lettuce products in their plastic clamshell containers and keep their roots attached. live-gourmet-living-butter-lettuceThese clamshells function as mini-greenhouses or micro-climates, and provide a protective barrier that helps maintain and extend the product’s natural freshness, color, and flavor.
  3. Do store our cress products in an air tight container (such as a Ziploc® or Tupperware®) with their roots still attached.
  4. Do refrigerate your leafy greens as soon as possible. Produce needs to be stored below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Our lettuce can be stored anywhere in the fridge as long as it’s in its clamshell. Cress products should be stored in the crisper section.
  5. Do store leafy greens away from other fruits and vegetables, because the hormone that plants produce, called ethylene, can hasten ripening.
  6. Do pre-clean surfaces being used to prepare leafy greens, then wash and pat dry your leafy greens before using or storing. This is best practice for all produce.
  7. Do check your leafy greens often and remove wilted or damaged leaves and throw-out the product if the whole plant looks wilted or old.
  8. Do adhere to your product’s Use By date and discard unused product that exceeds it.


  1. Don’t store your leafy greens anywhere other than your fridge or leave them outside of it for too long.
  2. Don’t store the root ball or plant in water. Our products have absorbed all of their necessary waterlive-gourmet-living-butter-lettuce before they reach you.
  3. Don’t refrigerate leafy greens while still wet, or even damp. Dry them well after rinsing and return them to their recommended containers.
  4. Don’t store leafy greens and other produce near any potential contaminants, such as raw meat
  5. Don’t feel obligated to eat the whole plant in one meal. Our leafy greens are harvested at your will. You remove as many leaves as needed and return the remaining product to the fridge for future use.
  6. Don’t eat your leafy greens past the expired Use By date; discard them immediately. It’s better to be safe than sorry!
  7. Don’t waste your leafy greens or other produce. Stock up on their nutritional value and eat 7-9 servings per day!


Labels: Butter Lettuce, Eat Leafy Greens for Nutrition, Fresh Eating Tips, Healthy Eating Tips, Lettuce Be Fresh, Live Gourmet Products, Organic Butter Lettuce, Organic Watercress

Veggie Lovers Rejoice – Watercress Pasta Recipe

September 4, 2014 | post a comment

Starting Monday, September 8th, vegetable lovers around the nation will begin to celebrate National Vegetarian Awareness Week, and we want to get you prepped. While you probably already know, vegetarianism is the practice of avoiding the consumption of meat, poultry and seafood; many people are unaware of the numerous health benefits associated with practicing vegetarianism. According to the American Dietetic Association vegetarians have a lower risk of developing many chronic diseases including; heart disease, several forms of cancers, diabetes, obesity, and hypertension. This is because healthy vegetarian diets are usually full of a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, which are loaded with essential nutrients and often added nutrients like antioxidants and phytonutrients. In addition, diets full of fruits and veggies tend to be high in fiber and low in fat, which further help maintain good health.

Now, just to clarify we know many of you love meat, poultry and seafood and trust me we get it, they’re delicious. However, vegetarian or not it is important to maintain a well-rounded and diverse diet filled with nature’s gifts of fruits and veggies, and limited in other areas of food. To help get you started, we found this wholesome and scrumptious pasta recipe from The Telegraph, which incorporates the most nutrient dense vegetable available, cress!  Of course, we recommend using our Grower Pete’s Living Watercress, or Live Gourmet® Living Upland Cress!

Watercress Pasta Recipe 


Photo via The Telegraph

What you will need (serving size of 4):

  • 1 pound of whole-wheat linguine
  • 2 ¾ oz of Grower Pete’s Living Watercress, or Live Gourmet® Living Upland Cress
  • 7 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ oz of flat leaf parsley, leaves only
  • 1 crushed clove of garlic
  • 1 ½ oz toasted pine nuts
  • 1 ¼ oz of freshly grated pecorino or parmesan

To Prepare:

Boil the linguine in a large pot with slightly salted water. While the pasta boils, make the pesto.  Put the watercress and parsley into a food processor with the olive oil, garlic, and pine nuts. Pulse the mixture until finely crushed. Add in half of the cheese and continue to pulse until the mixture is a rough paste. Then pour into a bowl and mix in the other half of the cheese. Then pour over pasta, stir and serve!

Labels: Organic Watercress, Upland Cress Recipes, Vegetarian Recipes

Back to School Healthy Lunchbox Ideas

August 27, 2014 | post a comment

The summer has come to an end, and that means the kids are heading back to school! We know it’s difficult to provide your children with healthy meals all of the time, especially during the busy work week. That’s why we’ve put together these fresh ideas for nutrient-rich lunches that are quick and easy to prepare and tasty for your kids!                                                                                                                                          healthy- lunchbox

Sandwich Spruce-up:  The USDA recommends that we fill half of our plates with fruits and vegetables at every meal. Here’s a simple way to accomplish this at lunch. Buy a lunchbox with separate compartments and fill with your child’s favorite fruits and veggies. We recommend cutting them in fun shapes and sizes. If raw veggies aren’t appealing, try steaming them the night before. Fill the other compartment with a fun shaped sandwich, using a cookie cutter, that’s filled with lean cold cuts, freshly sliced tomato, a slice of cheese, a large leaf of Grower Pete’s Organic Living Butter Lettuce, and a bit of mayo and mustard served on whole wheat bread.
thermos- lunch

Warm- up with Watercress: Prepare for the cooler autumn weather by purchasing your child a good thermos to take to school. During a cold week make a nutritious soup like this Garden Cress Soup for dinner from recipetips.com. You can even substitute the garden cress with Grower Pete’s Organic Living Watercress to increase nutrition, since watercress is the most nutrient dense vegetable available. The soup will be great for leftovers, which you can put in a thermos for your child’s lunch the next day. Your child will be so happy to have something warm they won’t event notice they’re eating vegetables! Compliment this meal with a little lettuce or fruit salad and a slice of cookie cutter, fun-shaped bread to dip in the soup.

Live Gourmet Butter LettuceCheer up chicken: Send your child with a “make your own lunch.” Make this quick and tasty chicken salad recipe the night before. When you wake up put the chicken salad in one compartment of the lunchbox. Then tear off and rinse a few leaves from a head of Grower Pete’s Organic Living Butter Lettuce and add those into another compartment. Put in a spoon, and tell your child to scoop the chicken salad into the lettuce cups so they can make their own little lettuce wraps at lunch!  Add some sliced fruit to another compartment and there you have it a fun, well-rounded lunchbox meal, which makes a delicious to-go lunch for you too!

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

Asian Turkey Lettuce Cups Recipe

August 19, 2014 | post a comment

Want to add a little spice to your day? Try out these fiery Asian Turkey Lettuce Cups, and celebrate Hot and Spicy Food Day on August 19th! Although they bring heat, the mild, refreshing butter lettuce balances them out, creating an ideal, light and tasty dinner alternative.

Asian Turkey Lettuce Cups Recipe

What you will need;                                                                                            live-gourmet-asian-turkey-wraps

2-3 teaspoons of freshly grated ginger

3 cloves of minced garlic

1 tablespoon of sesame oil

1 tablespoon of olive oil

1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes (add less or more upon preference)

3 green onions, chopped

1 pound of ground turkey (or Chicken)

¼ cup of soy sauce

¼ cup of rice wine vinegar

Roasted peanuts (optional)

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

Hoisin Sauce (upon preference)


How to Cook

First, cook the ginger and garlic on low heat in the sesame and olive oils for one to two minutes. Next, add in the red pepper flakes (if using), and the chopped green onions, and cook for another minute. Next, add the ground turkey or chicken and cook until the meat is no longer pink. Finally, pour in the soy sauce and vinegar and mix everything together.


Prepare the Wraps

Remove the amount of lettuce leaves you want to serve. Wash and dry the leaves. Put the cooked turkey or chicken into each lettuce cup.  Sprinkle the meat with the roasted peanuts (if desired), and drizzle the cups with warmed Hoisin Sauce. Voila! A refreshing yet piquant summer dish!

Labels: Butter Lettuce, Butter Lettuce Recipes, Fresh Home Recipes, Lettuce Recipe, Organic Butter Lettuce

Super Confused about Superfoods?

August 11, 2014 | post a comment

Ever wondered what’s so super about a superfood? Are you confused about the difference between watercress and upland cress? You’re not alone, so let us clarify the facts for you.

A superfood is an extremely nutrient-dense food that, when eaten, is considered to be very beneficial for maintaining good health. These foods tend to be unprocessed, and often contain high concentrations of antioxidants and phytonutrients, believed to help prevent cancer and a wide range of other chronic diseases.
Cress is an overarching name for the peppery-flavored, dark leafy greens that fall within the mustard family. It comes in a variety of forms including: watercress, garden cress, upland cress, winter cress, bitter cress, yellow cress, pennycress, and rock cress. These plants are related to the more popularly known superfoods, broccoli and kale. In fact, in a recent study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cress has just superseded kale and broccoli, having been named the most nutrient-dense vegetable available on the market.


At Hollandia Produce, we grow two strains of cress: Live Gourmet® Living Upland Cress and Grower Pete’s Organic Living Watercress. Both products are certified as antioxidant superfoods with 127 percent higher antioxidant density than the USDA reported average value. In addition to being loaded with essential nutrients, our cress products also contain as much vitamin C as an orange, more calcium than milk, and of course, high levels of magnesium, lutein, phosphorous, potassium, iron, beta-carotene, andvitamins A, B1, B6, K, and E!

click here to read brochure


It’s important to remember: no single food can provide you with the all of the nutrients necessary for good health. However, maintaining a healthy and diverse diet, filled with fruits and vegetables, including those that are considered superfoods, is good practice toward achieving this goal. Besides, in addition to being nutritious, they’re tasty and typically low calorie and high in fiber! Isn’t that reason enough to call them superfoods?

Labels: Eat Leafy Greens for Nutrition, Healthy Eating Tips, Live Gourmet Products, Organic Watercress

Hollandia’s Sustainability at Midwest Produce Expo

August 5, 2014 | post a comment

With the severe drought conditions plaguing the West, conserving water has become the new normal for consumers and businesses alike. Few industries have been more affected by these conditions than the agricultural business, that is, except for companies like Hollandia Produce, L.P.

As a greenhouse grower specializing in hydroponics, we’ve been committed to sustainable farming and water conservation. And, now when it really matters, we’re making a difference. That’s why we’re so excited to share our story at this year’s Midwest Produce Conference and Expo on August 12, in Chicago.

Hydroponic greenhouse growing is on the rise. While not all methods are created equal, we’re proud that our growing techniques enable us to grow 3.55 times more lettuce per acre and use up to 84 percent less water than traditional field grown crops. We achieve this through a continuous-flow-hydroponic system, known as nutrient film technique (NFT), which uses a very shallow stream of water containing all the dissolved nutrients required for plant growth. Hydroponic-growing-techniques

Sustainable farming and the environmental tenets of reduce; reuse and recycle are core values within our company.  Our entire organization works diligently to conserve water, eliminate soil erosion and be responsible stewards of the resources used to make our Live Gourmet® and Grower Pete’s certified organic products.

Additionally, with the adoption of our Live Gourmet® freight-saving Squircle clamshell package and our accompanying harness style shipping carton, we’ve reduced our annual recycled polyethylene terephthalate (RPET) use by 15 percent, and have achieved a 40 percent reduction in the amount of cardboard we use to ship our products.

Water conservation is vital, not just because of the current drought situation, but because it is a key aspect of sustainable agriculture and simply the right thing to do. We hope you can stop by booth 312 at the Midwest Produce Expo and learn more about how we’re saving water with every crop.

Labels: Hollandia Produce Clean Farming, Live Gourmet News, Sustainably Grown Food

A Healthy Twist on National Lasagna Day

July 29, 2014 | 1 Comment

It’s National Lasagna Day! Why not celebrate with a new twist on an old favorite? We added cress, the world’s most nutrient dense superfood, to create a lasagna recipe that’s not only indulgent and delicious but packed with essential antioxidants, vitamins and phytonutrients. Plus, cress’ peppery flavor adds a complimentary kick to lasagna’s traditional taste.


  • Lasagna noodles                                                              spinach lasagna recipe with watercress
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 8 oz. of sliced mushrooms
  • 2 bags of Live Gourmet® Living Upland Cress or Grower Pete’s Organic Living Watercress
  • 2, 15-oz. containers of ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup of grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 ½ cups of grated mozzarella cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup of chopped, fresh parsley
  • ¼ cup of chopped, fresh basil
  • 2, 12-oz. jars of marinara sauce
  • 1 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon of pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon of nutmeg
  • (Makes 8 servings)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Lightly oil a 9’ x 13’ baking dish
  3. Parboil lasagna noodles in salted water for 6 minutes (The noodles will continue to cook in the oven.)
  4. Sauté garlic and mushrooms in olive oil until the mushrooms are tender. Then, add in the watercress and sauté quickly (or until the greens are wilted)
  5. Mix together the ricotta and parmesan cheese, eggs, nutmeg, salt and pepper, and fresh herbs in a mixing bowl
  6. Pour a shallow layer of the marinara sauce over the bottom of the baking dish.
  7. Add one layer of pasta noodles
  8. Spread cheese and herb mixture over noodles
  9. Pour another layer of marinara sauce over the cheese
  10. Continue layering until all ingredients are used
  11. Finish with a top layer of mozzarella cheese
  12. Cook in oven for 30-45 minutes, or until the lasagna is bubbly and the cheese is melted

Labels: Eat Leafy Greens for Nutrition, Organic Watercress, Upland Cress Recipes, Vegetarian Recipes

Hollandia at PMA Foodservice Conference

July 23, 2014 | post a comment

On July 26, Hollandia Produce, L.P., will be among the expected 160 exhibitors and 1,700 attendees at the PMA Foodservice Conference & Expo being held in Monterey, CA, just outside the state’s Central and Salinas valley, or better known as the Ag belt. It is the only event focused exclusively on fresh produce in foodservice, the distribution channel for food delivery to hospitality, healthcare and education.

Given today’s culinary and foodservice trends shifting toward healthier menus that include darker greens, and the use of produce that’s sustainably grown, less wasteful (also known as root-to-stalk) and delivers more nutrition per bite, we’re extremely thrilled to be exhibiting. Live-Gourmet-Expo-Booth

The PMA Foodservice Expo gives us an opportunity to share with today’s chefs and food service purveyors how our Live Gourmet® and certified organic Grower Pete’s’ brands of living lettuce and leafy greens are the ideal produce choices to effectively address these current trends and challenges.

We grow our produce in technologically advanced greenhouses using hydroponic techniques that use up to 84 percent less water than is needed for field grown crops. We also use less land. Our greenhouse production generally produces 3.55 times more lettuce per acre than conventional growing methods, reducing the amount of arable land needed for production.

We deliver our products to market with their roots still attached, so our customers and their consumers experience the freshest vegetables possible, because they’re still alive. Our customers can serve and eat the entire plant and compost the root ball, resulting in nearly zero plant waste.

Moreover, as chefs begin looking beyond kale and spinach for other nutrient-dense salads and sides ingredients, they’re discovering that cress’ naturally peppery flavor and recipe versatility is an excellent alternative, especially since its’ been recently named the most nutrient dense food available. Hollandia Produce’s Live Gourmet® Living Upland Cress and Grower Pete’s Organic Watercress are also third-party certified as superfoods, for their rich concentration of antioxidants, phytonutrients, lutein and Vitamins A, C and K.

Our versatile products are perfect for every sector of the foodservice industry, with their appetizing flavors and loaded health benefits. It’s no wonder chefs today are seizing opportunities for our leafy green products. Come take a closer look and visit us at PMA Food Service Expo Booth #145, or check us out online for updates and photos.

Labels: Live Gourmet News, Live Gourmet Products, Organic Watercress

Refreshing Summer Watercress and Spinach Salad

July 15, 2014 | 1 Comment

Did you know July 16th is Fresh Spinach Day? Spinach is a delicious and nutritious vegetable that contains folic acid, and other essential vitamins and minerals, as well as cancer- fighting antioxidants. To increase your nutrient intake even further pair your next spinach meal with our watercress, a certified superfood with extremely high levels of essential nutrients and phytonutrients that adds a zesty bite to any dish. Here is a yummy salad that combines the vibrant taste of watercress with baby spinach, for a refreshing meal that will keep you from cooking in a hot kitchen on these warm summer days.

Mix Together:

1 bag of fresh baby spinach

1 bag of antioxidant rich Live Gourmet® Upland Cress or Grower Pete’s Organic Living Watercress    Grower-Pete's-Organic-Living-Watercress

1 avocado pitted and sliced

¼ cup of toasted slivered almonds 

1 orange cut into segments

Crumbled Goat cheese


2 tablespoons of lemon juice

2 tablespoons of orange juice

1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard

2 teaspoons of honey

¼ cup of olive oil

Salt and pepper (Upon Preference)

Whisk together and pour over salad!


If you have a favorite summer salad recipe, share it with us on our Live Gourmet® Facebook or Twitter Page!

Labels: Organic Watercress, Uncategorized, Upland Cress Recipes, Vegetarian Recipes