A First Look at the Rebranding of Pete’s Living Greens

Exciting news! Our Live Gourmet and Grower Pete’s products have a fresh new look as Pete’s Living Greens. The rebrand is the result of efforts to unite the company’s organic and conventional lines under one congruent brand.

Don’t worry you can still buy all of your favorite hydroponic living greens with the roots attached. Under the new label, you’ll find Pete’s Living Greens Butter Lettuce (both conventional and organic), Bouquet Lettuce (formerly 3-in-1), Red Butter Lettuce, Organic Watercress and Upland Cress. New items are also on the horizon.

In an interview with the produce industry news site And Now U Know, CEO John Cochran says, “It has been a long and arduous, but very rewarding process. You cannot take walking away from a longstanding successful brand lightly…Branding, specifically in packaging, is your first communication with consumers. The importance of understanding not just today’s consumer but tomorrow’s as well, is imperative to be successful.”

Products now bearing the Pete’s Living Greens moniker are getting a facelift featuring a new sleek design that is 100% recyclable. On each package you will find a message that both honors our past and that is committed to a sustainable future:

At Pete’s Living Greens, we take pride in the products we grow because we are responsible growers and have been employee-owned and operated for almost 50 years. We grow all our products hydroponically — using up to 85% less water and 70% less land than traditional growers. All our packaging is 100% recyclable too! When you eat Pete’s Living Greens, you know you are doing something healthy for you and the environment around you.

Pete’s Living Greens may be a new look, but it still has the same great taste that you and your family have grown to love. For updates and news, follow us at our new Facebook page and you can find us on Twitter and Instagram. Here’s to the next 50 years and beyond!

 Spruce Up Living Greens This Spring

 

Flowers on a picnic table for Sprucing Up Living Greens Blog PostSpring has graced us with its presence this week — though it may be hard to tell if you’re still thawing out in the Midwest and on the East Coast. Whether outside your window looks dreary or lush, try adding color and crunch to our greens this spring to spruce up your meals. 

Besides tasting fresh and delicious, fruits and vegetables are essential to a healthy diet. Here’s some food for thought: Eating ten portions a day may lower the risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer and pre-mature death according to a recent Imperial College London study. Furthermore, researchers found that subjects who ate 10 portions lowered their chance of developing life-threatening diseases more than those who only consumed five. 

It’s time to up those leafy green and brightly colored produce into your daily diet. To step into spring on the right foot, we’ve included a few nutritious and delicious ideas. 

Why not knock out several tasty veggies in one dish? Taste and Savor’s Cauliflower Tabbouleh in Living Butter Lettuce Cups combines cauliflower and our Butter Lettuce to create a crisp meatless snack or lunch. Along with glucosinolate-rich cauliflower, our Living Butter Lettuce is also full of vitamins and has high doses of beta-carotene which is often linked to cancer prevention.

Spring showers have you stuck inside? Cheer up. Brita Britnell’s mango chicken lettuce wraps are sunshine on plate. Zucchini, carrots and onion commingle with mango chicken. We recommend trying our Living Butter Lettuce as the wrap.

At the beginning of the week, whip up our Cressto Pesto and freeze individual servings in small containers. Take one out to thaw in the morning and serve it with crunchy crudité for a healthy afternoon snack. 

WEBMD writes that, “Eating salad almost every day may be one of the most healthy eating habits you can adopt — and one of the simplest, experts say.”

To spruce up your daily salad, try adding our Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy dressing to a bowl full of crisp Living Greens. 

Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy Vinaigrette
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Ingredients
  1. ½ cup of good olive oil
  2. Juice of 1 lemon
  3. A spoonful of grainy mustard
  4. A garlic clove finely chopped
  5. Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients together in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake vigorously.
Pete's Living Greens Blog http://www.livegourmet.com/wordpress/

 

Give Your St. Patrick’s Day Menu a Boost with Watercress

 

In honor of St. Patrick's Day, there is an image of a smoothie with watercress in it, a hand holds a bunch of Live Gourmet Living Upland Cress and there is an image of dewey clover leafsGreen beer, leprechaun decorations and corned beef and cabbage are ubiquitous staples for many people on St. Patrick’s Day. But did you know many of these customs were adopted in the US as over a million of Irish people emigrated in the mid-19th to early 20th centuries. Prior to then, the Irish customarily ate lamb or bacon on St. Patrick’s Day in their native country. Cattle was primarily for dairy products and beef was too expensive for the average Irish person. 

If you’re planning a St. Patrick’s Day dinner, deviate from typical corned beef and cabbage main course. Instead, try a few our favorite recipes with one of our favorite veggies, watercress, which will “beef” up your nutritional intake for the day.

Top o’ the morning to you! Start your day off right by tossing a handful of Pete’s Living Greens Organic Living Watercress or  Living Upland Cress into your AM smoothie. It’s also a great remedy for those who may have imbibed in a little too much green beer. This recipe inspired by Carrie on Vegan will keep you going during the long day of festivities. Plus, watercress and upland cress contain high levels of vitamin C, helping keep your immune system strong whether you’re braving the brisk air during a parade or partying into the wee hours.

If you are planning a tame evening with friends and family, take a cue from the Irish for your dinner menu. To start, serve these adorable shamrock tea sandwiches as a light appetizer. Guinness Risotto with Shrimp and Watercress is a sophisticated dish that balances the iconic Irish brew with the emerald, peppery superfood. If you want to experiment further, prepare Watercress Soup with Whiskey Cream from Food Network. Who said leafy greens and libations don’t go together?

After dinner, have the family reuse the plastic clamshells that hold our butter lettuce to make homemade St. Patty’s Day stencils. Go to about.com and Enchanted Learning for a few pointers and simple shamrock templates. May the luck of the Irish be with you as you prepare delicious and nutritious fare for your loved ones!

 

 

Delves into Four Food Myths

 

A tall glass of milk
Photo: Krzysztof Puszczyński

Today, healthy eating has taken foodie culture by storm. Magazines dedicated to the gluten free and Paleo diets are displayed prominently in our supermarket checkout line. Plant based diets are on the rise and more restaurants — from quick eats to fine dining — are including fresher, healthier options. Even McDonald’s has tested adding meals to its menu that contain egg whites, kale and Greek yogurt. With the proliferation of healthy food, it’s also important to decipher what is fact and fiction. We’ve decided to get to the bottom of a few mood myths that many of us believe to be true about the foods we eat. Here’s what we found.

Food Myths Explained

  1. Milk makes you grow taller. Don’t you remember the eye-catching and popular got milk? ads? According to a Modern Farmer article, the science isn’t clear whether dairy milk really does help kids’ growth. This doesn’t mean to skip out on the nutritious beverage — it contains significant amounts of calcium, VitaminsB1, and magnesium, which are essential for a well-balanced diet.
  2. Orange carrots lay on a wood table
    Photo: Jonathan Pielmayer

    Eating carrots helps your eyesight. In short, the answer is sort of. The bright root veggie contains beta-carotene, the pigment that gives carrots their orange color. The body then uses it to make Vitamin A, which helps maintain healthy vision. But in Scientific American, Emily Chew, deputy clinical director at the National Eye Institute, suggests eating leafy green vegetables. Why? They contain lutein and zeaxanthin which protect against UV damage and help thwart age-related macular degeneration (which beta-carotene cannot.) Our Living Watercress, in fact, contains lutein and zeaxanthin!

  3. All Fat is bad for you. Knowing the difference between “good” and “bad” fat is important. Foods like nuts, salmon, olive oil and avocados contain unsaturated fat, which can actually decrease your risk of heart disease. Red meat, fried foods and palm oil, on the other hand, contain saturated and trans fats, and should be limited in a healthy diet to avoid high cholesterol, among other health issues.
  1. Carbs are the enemy. “Science makes the answer pretty clear: no. While bread, pasta and sugar are hard-to-resist sources of calories without much in the way of nutrition, other carbohydrate-heavy foods — whole grains, legumes and fruit — are nutrient-rich,” writes The Washington Post.  

For a variety of healthy and tasty recipes, check out our blog archives.

 

 

 

Power Up Your Fruits and Veggies for National Nutrition Month

 

Apple Romaine Lettuce Cups are arranged a bright yellow and orange plate that sits atop a wooden tableThis month, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is raising awareness about national nutrition. 2017’s slogan “Put Your Best Fork Forward” acts as a reminder that each bite counts. This got us thinking about snacking and how it fits into a well-balanced diet. In a Cleveland Clinic Wellness article, Janel Ovrut, MS, RD. says, “If you go more than five hours between meals, a nutritious snack can tie you over so you don’t overeat when you sit down to lunch or dinner.”

In that case, it’s good to be prepared. Rebecca Subbiah, registered dietitian and founder of Chow and Chatter based in Winston-Salem, NC, suggests keeping healthy snacks on hand at home and on-the-go to avoid succumbing to junk food when hunger calls. Her recommendations are packing a piece of fruit, nuts and yogurt when out and about, and keeping a well-stocked fruit bowl and healthy snacks in the pantry at home. If nutritious, flavorful options are readily available then making the healthy choice will be a no brainer. We can’t wait to try Rebecca’s recipe for Apple Chips and popcorn with Parmesan and Za’atar spice. Both snacks are low in calories and high in fiber — great for a well-balanced diet.

Speaking of fiber…What your grandma may fondly refer to as “roughage” is the indigestible part of plant foods that aid digestion. It can also help you stay fuller longer. Subbiah recommends filling half of your plate with fiber-rich vegetables, legumes and whole grains such as oatmeal, lentils, and broccoli.

Another low-calorie and high-fiber snack is our Lettuce Wraps with Crunchy Apple Salad. Did you know? One large apple has a whopping 5 grams of fiber. For an afternoon treat, try these delicious wraps during National Nutrition Month. They’re sure to turn into a year-round favorite!

For more about Rebecca Subbiah RDN (US and UK), LDN, go to her website, blog and follow her on Twitter @chowandchatter

Lettuce Wrap with Crunchy Apple Salad
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Ingredients
  1. 1 Head of Pete's Living Greens Butter Lettuce or Baby Romaine
  2. ½ Cup Plain Greek Yogurt
  3. 2 TB Orange Juice
  4. 2 TB Orange Zest
  5. 1/2 Tsp Garam Masala
  6. 1 Cup Grated Carrot
  7. ½ Cup Chopped Celery
  8. 1 Red Apple, Cored, Chopped
  9. 2 Green Apples, Cored, Chopped
  10. 1 Cup Red Seedless Grapes, Halved
  11. ½ Cup Golden Raisins (or chopped dates)
  12. ½ Cup Chopped Roasted and Salted Cashews
Instructions
  1. Mix the yogurt, orange juice, orange zest and Garam Masala in a small bowl to blend. (You can prepare this dressing up to a day ahead of time)
  2. Add the grated carrot, diced celery, diced apples, halved grapes, raisins or dates and cashews to a bowl. Add the dressing to salad and toss.
  3. Cut the roots off the head of the lettuce and lay a leaf out flat. Place a couple of tablespoons of the salad in the leaf and repeat with the remaining leaves.
Pete's Living Greens Blog http://www.livegourmet.com/wordpress/

 

Greenhouse Growing Throughout the Winter

 

Greenhouse growing goes back three generations beginning in Holland for the Overgaag Family, founders of Hollandia Produce. The family’s tradition, now passed on to the employee owners, of greenhouse hydroponic growing allows us to grow your favorite Pete’s Living Greens products with consistent uniformity year-round.

Inside Hollandia Produce's Greenhouse Growing Practices

How do we do this?

For most farms, the colder temperatures and shorter winter days marks a shift in crop production. However, for us this is not the case. While our growing cycle is mildly affected by seasonal changes, all of our greens are produced hydroponically in state-of-the-art greenhouses where we control light, pests, temperature, humidity, and nutrients. Hydroponics, “is a method of growing plants using mineral nutrient solutions, in water, without soil.” 

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 delivery, 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.

Saluting U.S. Presidents and their Food

American Flag blows in the wind amongst a blue sky.In honor of President’s Day on Monday, February 20, we’re sharing #FunkyFacts about U.S. presidents and their food proclivities. And if you’re looking for culinary inspiration to celebrate on Monday, read “FOOD52’s 17 Presidents’ Favorite Foods for Presidents’ Day.”


 

  • Every other Thursday at 4pm sharp, President George Washington and his wife Martha hosted a dinner for legislators. In Ron Chernow’s biography of the inaugural leader, Washington would then explain curtly [if guests were even five minutes late] that the cook was governed by the clock and not by the company. His dentures may have been the source of his persnickety remark. “By the time he was elected, Washington only had one tooth remaining and had to rely on dentures, which not only restricted his diet to soft foods, but made public speaking extremely difficult,” writes Smithsonian Magazine.
  • First Lady Michelle Obama wasn’t the first White House resident to plant a vegetable garden. The tradition goes back to 1800 where President John Adams and First Lady Abigail Adams cultivated a plot of land for vegetables and fruit that the first family would eat.
  • When President Theodore Roosevelt toured the American Northwest in 1902, the avid outdoorsmen noshed on foods that we see on many farm-to-table menus today. Broiled trout, lettuce salad, Roquefort cheese and roasted duck all made appearances on the menu, which you can view here.
  • According to a 1969 article in the Reading Eagle, President Richard Nixon made a regular habit of eating cottage cheese with a healthy douse of ketchup. Why? The 37th president said he ate the diet staple for health reasons but disliked the taste, hence the sweet condiment.
  • Did you know that we’ve never had a vegetarian president? The closest would be President Bill Clinton who turned vegan diet after his tenure when he was diagnosed with heart disease. But while he was in the White House, he was a notorious fast-food lover — so much so that Saturday Night Live parodied his eating habits.
  • According to Food & Wine Magazine, President George W. Bush (2001-2009) loved cheeseburger pizza for dinner, which is literally a margarita pizza topped with cheeseburger ingredients.

For more President food history, check out this CNN.com article.

Celebrating American Heart Month with Healthy Recipes

 

Copy of Heart healthy monthAs we enter the month of February, decorative hearts and cupids occupy neighborhood storefronts. Decadent boxes of chocolates and candies inscribed with “LUV” and “Be Mine” tantalize in the aisles of the grocery store. But before you reach for a few truffles, read this cardiovascular wellness post during American Heart Month.

According to the CDC,  about 610,000 people die of heart disease in the United States every year – that’s 1 in every 4 deaths. Though genetics can play a role, there are several ways that you can thwart your chances of developing cardiovascular disease. One way is through diet. A variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, poultry, beans and nuts is essential to maintaining a heart healthy lifestyle. Within a heart healthy diet, The American Heart Association recommends including dark leafy greens daily. Kale, collard greens and varieties like our own Watercress and Baby Romaine are packed with nutrients and minerals. “[Green veggies] are high in carotenoids, which act as antioxidants and free your body of potentially harmful compounds. They’re also high in fiber and contain tons of vitamins and minerals,” says health.com.

Need a few weeknight #hearthealthy dinner ideas? We’ve got you covered!

Food52’s Sardine, Avocado and Radish Salad with Upland Cress – This recipe is covered head-to-toe in hearty nutritional goodness. Sardines are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids which, research has shown, can decrease risk of arrhythmias (abnormal heartbeats). Rich in the monounsaturated fats, avocadoes may lower heart disease risk factors. To round out the dish, cruciferous veggies upland cress and radishes pack a punch with cancer-fighting properties.

Whole Food’s Watercress Salad with Pears and Pomegranates – “Pomegranates contains numerous antioxidants, including heart-promoting polyphenols and anthocyanins which may help stave off hardening of the arteries,” reports health.com. Additionally, the luminous fruit and peppery watercress both possess an ample amount of vitamin c.

Brown Sugar’s Romaine Lettuce Chicken Salad Wraps – Romaine lettuce is a versatile green. With more more vitamin A than a carrot, the hearty lettuce makes an excellent stand in for a wrap or sandwich bread in this recipe. In this rendition of chicken salad, Brown Sugar includes walnuts. In a 2011 study, findings suggested that walnuts may be the top nut for heart health. What are you waiting for? Get crackin’!

For more heart healthy recipe ideas, check out our latest Pinterest board.

Snack Ideas for your Super Bowl Party

StockSnap_FB2D66688CSuper Bowl Sunday may not be an official American holiday, but in many circles it’s treated as such. Did you know? “Roughly 60% of the take out ordered on Super Bowl Sunday is pizza. And about 28,000,000 pounds of chips, 1.25 billion chicken wings, and 8,000,000 pounds of guacamole are consumed,” writes Wikipedia.

If you’re counting down the hours until you and your friends can watch the Patriots and Falcons face off, consider serving a variety of finger foods and snacks that will satisfy your guests’ ranging palates and diets. To add some balance to your football feast, we’ve found a few healthy(ish) snacks to throw into the mix. 

Here are a few of our favorites:

A Calculated Whisk’s Slow Cooker Carnitas Lettuce Wraps: Try this twist on barbecue at your upcoming shin-dig and serve with our Pete’s Living Greens Butter Lettuce.

Bon Appetit’s Grilled Flat Bread with Zucchini and Ricotta: We love this less greasy take on pizza. We recommend adding our Living Watercress for a subtle peppery bite and jolt of nutrition. By adding the “peppery” plant to a variety of meals, studies show it can significantly reduce DNA damage caused by free radicals — important in preventing cancer.

Eating Well’s Buffalo Cauliflower Bites: As One of the biggest food trends of 2016, the demand of cauliflower doesn’t seem to slowing in the New Year. And rightfully so, as a cruciferous cousin to our Pete’s Living Greens Organic Watercress or Upland Cress, it contains significant sources of vitamin C, potassium and fiber. Even meat lovers will enjoy these flavorful alternatives to spicy chicken wings.

As a bonus, we’ve included a recipe of our very own: Cressto Pesto with Crudite.

Cressto Pesto with Crudite
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Ingredients
  1. 1 Garlic Clove
  2. 2 TB Tahini
  3. 1 TB Lemon Juice
  4. 2 – 3 Cups of Pete's Living Greens Organic Watercress or Upland Cress, packed
  5. ¼ Cup Chopped Parsley
  6. ½ Cup Chopped Toasted Walnuts or Almonds
  7. 1 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  8. Sea Salt and Freshly Cracked Black Pepper
Instructions
  1. Place the garlic, tahini and lemon juice in the food processor bowl and whiz until pureed.
  2. Add the walnuts and cress and pulse to blend. With the machine running, pour the olive oil in a steady stream into the bowl, process until smooth.
  3. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with crudité like carrots, grape tomatoes, radishes and broccoli florets.
Pete's Living Greens Blog http://www.livegourmet.com/wordpress/

Try Ribollita with Watercress This Winter

 

The Tuscan comfort food Ribollita is a thick vegetable soup that is traditionally served throughout one week; its flavors deepening and consistency thickening with each day. In some households, they even fry the remaining bit like a pancake. Regardless how you decide to serve your Ribollita, you are bound to satisfy everyone, from vegetarians to those who are dairy free. We used Chef Mario Batali’s, of the Chew and Moltissimo, rendition as a point of departure. Putting our own spin on the recipe, we added Pete’s Living Greens Organic Watercress (you can also use our Upland Cress), used store-bought tomato sauce instead of homemade and canned beans in lieu of dry. (Shh! We won’t tell if you don’t.) These minor alterations won’t sacrifice the taste, but will save you time on a busy weeknight.

The dish is already a low-fat and vitamin-rich meal, but our watercress gives it extra oomph. Watercress is high in phytonutrients as well as antioxidants, vitamins C and A. Based on its nutrient-to-calorie ratio, it’s the highest ranked vegetable on the nutrient scale. It even has as much vitamin C as oranges and other citrus. Vitamin C helps the body fight against immune system deficiencies and the common cold. All the more reason to add the Pete’s Living Greens Organic Watercress or Upland Cress to your potage this winter!

Ribollita with Watercress
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Ingredients
  1. A can of white cannellini beans
  2. Extra virgin olive oil
  3. 1 medium red onion, chopped
  4. 2 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
  5. 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  6. 2 medium red potatoes, cubed
  7. 1 cup tomato sauce
  8. 1 bunch of Pete's Living Greens Organic Watercress or Upland Cress
  9. 1 bunch rainbow chard, chopped
  10. 1 bunch Tuscan kale, chopped
Instructions
  1. Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven. Add onion and sauté until translucent.
  2. Add potatoes, carrots and garlic and sauté for five minutes, stirring often.
  3. Add four cups of water and tomato sauce. Stir and let it come to boil.
  4. Stir in greens and undrained beans.
  5. Turn burner down and let it simmer for 1-1.5 hours.
Notes
  1. To serve: Salt and pepper to taste and add red flakes if you like a bit of heat. You can toast thick pieces of fresh bread in the broiler. Once you remove the slices, add one to a bottom of a bowl and ladle the Ribollita on top of it. Mangia!
Pete's Living Greens Blog http://www.livegourmet.com/wordpress/