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.

Hollandia Produce Commemorates National Ag Day on March 15

 

National-Ag-DayOn March 15, Hollandia Produce will join farmers across America to acknowledge National Ag Day. Established more than 30 years ago, this designation is an opportunity to recognize and honor the hard work, dedication and collective impact of the Ag industry on people’s daily lives. This year’s theme “Agriculture: Stewards of a Healthy Planet” is a befitting tribute to our industry’s focus on improvements in sustainable farming.

As a hydroponic greenhouse farm, we’re proud of the accomplishments of our locally grown Grower Pete’s brand. Under this label, we blend the best of nature and nurture in a naturally rich environment to produce our certified organic, wholesome Living Butter Lettuce and Living Watercress.

RootsTo produce Grower Pete’s brand and Live Gourmet products, Hollandia Produce avidly utilizes environmentally friendly and conservationist practices. That’s why we use a continuous-flow hydroponic system known as nutrient film technique (NFT), where a very shallow stream of water, containing all the dissolved nutrients required for plant growth, is recirculated. This hydroponic growing technique recycles more than 80% of its water use while also limiting water loss due to evaporation. 

We also practice sustainability by using packaging that is both recycled and recyclable. Our Squircle® clamshells put your empty plastic water bottles to good use by being comprised of nearly 70% polyethylene terephthalate (PET) water bottles. (PET is a safe, recyclable material that does not contain Biosphenol A. (BPA)). We reduced the amount of plastic needed to manufacture these clamshells by 15% in recent years.

This Ag Day, Hollandia Produce will band together with the Agriculture Council of America and others to spread the word on the abundance provided by American agriculture.

There are numerous ways you can get involved too!

  1. Join in on the conversation by following @LiveGourmet, @agday and hashtag #agday2016 on Twitter
  2. Find local Ag Day events in your area
  3. Share Ag Day fun facts with your family, friends and students
  4. Find out what’s growing near you on Epicurious and make a farm-to-table meal!
  5. And, if you can, thank a local farmer!

 

 

Food Safety is on our Radar

 

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.

Hollandia Produce: The Best of 2014

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!

Hollandia Produce Honors SB Food Bank

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.

Hollandia’s Sustainability at Midwest Produce Expo

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.

Hollandia Produce Sponsors Carpinteria Movies in the Park

Finding Nemo Family-Friendly Movies in the ParkAt Hollandia Produce, we are always happy to help sponsor community events we believe in. This summer, we are proud to be sponsoring Movies in the Park located in Linden Field in the city of Carpinteria. This nonprofit began in 2008 and features open air movies to families in the neighborhood during the summer. This summer, movies will be featured every Thursday from July 25th to August 29th, 2013.

Carpinteria Movies in the Park feature family friendly movies, and  here are some of the films that are scheduled for this summer: Finding Nemo, The Lorax, and The Never Ending Story. Guests bring their own chairs and blankets, and snacks are available for sale at concessions. If you live in the area, visit Carpinteria this summer with your family and enjoy your Thursday nights with us, as we watch family-friendly films under the stars.

To get the full schedule and times, please visit here: http://bit.ly/1ak378c.

Carpinteria Movies In The Park

 

Hollandia Produce Receives Fleet Owner Magazine Vehicle Graphics Award – Again!

We are very pleased to announce that Hollandia Produce, LLC has won a Fleet Owner Graphics award for the second year in a row. As you know, Hollandia Produce is all about providing fresh lettuces and leafy greens. And to convey that message appropriately, our trucking fleet must be clean, safe and fresh. Our trailers are outfitted with living butter lettuce images and the side of the trailers say all that needs to be said, “Live Gourmet. Absolutely fresh because it’s still alive.”

According to Fleet Owner magazine, “from the giant head of lettuce at the rear of the trailer to the nicely packaged lettuce as it appears on store shelves, the entire trailer graphic evokes pride in the product.”

“The main reason for having graphics on our trailers and also for introducing new graphics on our trailers is to increase consumer and brand awareness,” says our CEO Peter Overgaag. “Everyone is a potential customer, and what better way to reach everyone out there than to have artwork on the streets for the public to see? It’s the perfect advertising tool to showcase our name, as well as new products.”

We are honored to receive the Vehicle Graphics award and look forward to next year. Here is a photo of our new graphics for our transport trucks:

Hollandia Produce Fleet Owner Magazine Vehicle Graphic Award

Organic Butter Lettuce at Natural Products Expo

The Hollandia Produce team had an opportunity to revisit our trip to the Natural Products Expo in Anaheim, Ca. when we saw a Specialty-Retailing.com article called To Your Health: From Babies to Babes! by Dennis Weaver.

organic butter lettuce
Pete Overgaag at Natural Products Expo

Weaver’s article shared these great photos of Pete Overgaag, President of Hollandia Produce.

Here he is at the National Products Expo with our own Grower Pete’s living butter lettuce – harvested with roots attached!

Weaver highlights many of the great finds of the Natural Products Expo. He also shares featured products including our own Grower Pete’s organic butter lettuce and organic watercress. His article was a great way to revisit the Natural Products Expo!

organic living butter lettuce

Tribute to Huell Howser

Huell Howser at Hollandia Produce Live Gourmet headquarters We wanted to take a moment to give our gratitude and tribute to Huell Howser. Huell was a California public television personality and was best known for California’s Gold,  his travel show based in Los Angeles at KCET for California PBS stations. He recently passed away and he will be missed.

In 2004, he visited Hollandia Produce and filmed a segment for his show California Green. We appreciated his visit and the time he spent at Hollandia Produce with our staff and Overgaag family. These pictures are great reminders of his visit.

The L.A. Times published that “fans and public figures alike have shown an outpouring of appreciation for Howser following his death. Even ‘The Simpsons’ took a moment to remember Howser, showing an animated image of the television host in Sunday’s episode with the words: ‘In memory of Huell Howser. Friend of The Simpsons and Friend of California.'” Huell Howser and Overgaag Family in 2004