Is Watercress the New Kale? Hollandia Produce Weighs in.


Photo: Fitomorph
Photo: Fitomorph

Countless publications have predicted that watercress is the new kale in 2016. We couldn’t agree more. We’re glad the food industry and foodies at large are catching on, because there are a multitude of ways that watercress’s nutritional value surpasses other produce.

Our own Living Watercress and Upland Cress are antioxidant-certified. This means that laboratory testing, conducted by SCS, confirmed that Live Gourmet Living Upland Cress and Grower Pete’s Brand Organic Watercress contain high quantities of lutein, an antioxidant known to fight cancer-causing free radical compounds. In addition to being the most nutrient-dense vegetables, our Living Watercress and Upland Cress are versatile additions to many meals!

But don’t just take our word for it. There are many articles that feature ways in which watercress is a beneficial addition to your diet and healthy routine. We thought we’d share what publications are saying about the powerhouse green.

The Dish says: “Strong on nutrition and unexpectedly bold in flavor, watercress is the superfood that we all could probably use a bit more of in our lives.”

In Female First’s “Is Watercress the new Kale? Here are 10 reasons we think so” the author writes: “It has real flavour. Watercress brings pepperiness to the plate thanks to the ITCs (that’s isothiocyanates in case you didn’t know!) that are produced as you chew it. Those powerful little ITCs have been shown to have cancer preventative properties, repair the damage caused by exercise, stress and everyday living and actually boost the immune system too.”

Eat This states: “Gram for gram this mild-tasting and flowery-looking green contains four times more beta carotene than an apple, and a whopping 238 percent of your daily recommended dose of vitamin K per 100 grams—two compounds that keep skin dewy and youthful.”

Want to learn even more about the superfood watercress? Join us for an online chat tomorrow, Wednesday, February 3 from 12noon-1:30 p.m (pacific time) with Dr. Steve Rothwell. Sign up on The Optimist website.

The Lettuce Be Fresh Blog’s Top Five Summery Picks


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.

A “Green” Bloody Mary and Smoked Salmon Wraps: A Healthy Twist on Two New Year’s Day Brunch Classics

It’s hard to believe another year has passed. But what better way to ring in 2015, than hosting a New Year’s brunch? To support and encourage your guests who’ve resolved to eat healthier in the New Year, here are some healthier twists to everyone’s classic brunch menu.

First, toast the New Year with this Spicy BLT “Green” Bloody Mary recipe courtesy of Heather Cristo. We suggest replacing the parsley with watercress to increase the nutritional value and to add a peppery flavor profile. Next, pair your “Green Mary” with this Smoked Salmon Mousse Wrap, which is lower in fat than most traditional brunch foods.

Spicy BLT Green Bloody Mary

Photo courtesy of Heather Cristo

Ingredients (serves 4)

4 cups of tomatillos

2 tablespoons of parsley (or Live Gourmet® Living Upland Cress or Grower Pete’s Certified Organic Watercress)

2 teaspoons of red wine vinegar

½ cup of English Cucumber cut into chunks

Juice of 2 limes

2 teaspoons Worcestershire Sauce

1 jalapeno cut into quarters

2 teaspoons of horseradish

8 ounces of vodka (or amount upon preference)


A pinch of Kosher Salt (or more upon preference)



4 romaine lettuce leaf hearts (or 4 leaves Living Butter Lettuce from Live Gourmet® or Grower Pete’s Organic)

4 strips of bacon cooked crispy

Cherry tomatoes

Lemon Wedges


Combine the tomatillos, parsley (or watercress), vinegar, cucumber chunks, lime juice, Worcestershire Sauce, and the jalapeno in a blender, and blend until juice like. Once the mixture is blended well, stir in the horseradish and vodka, and then season with salt. Next, pour into four, tall glasses filled with ice and garnish with preferred lettuce leaves, bacon, tomatoes and lemon wedges.


Smoked Salmon Mousse in Lettuce Cups

 Butter Lettuce Recipe


8 oz. cream cheese, softened

6 oz. sour cream

4 ounces smoked salmon (1 store bought package)

Juice of 2 lemons

1 teaspoon of Horseradish (optional)

Several sprigs of fresh dill, or dry dill

Salt and pepper, to taste

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

Drained capers, amount upon preference


Mix the cream cheese, sour cream, salmon, lemon juice, horseradish, dill and salt and pepper in a food processor until smooth. Next spoon the mousse into lettuce leaf cups. Sprinkle with Capers and dill sprigs. And as a bonus this spread will save and is also a delicious spread on crackers or bagels.


Dos and Don’ts for Extending Leafy Greens


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!


Eat More Leafy Greens for Better Nutrition

Eat Lettuces and Leafy Greens for better nutritionLive Gourmet lettuces and leafy greens not only taste delightful but are healthy too! Live Gourmet lettuces have the roots attached to maintain the crisp and delicious taste to stay fresh for days. We recently read an article on that shared, “green leafy vegetables are chock full of phytochemicals, vitamins and minerals.”  For better nutrition, go to your local market and pick up some greens and make a delicious salad to fill your appetite.  To learn more about leafy green nutrition, here are more highlights from the article:

  • Many health professionals believe that leafy green vegetables deserve a special focus in the produce world for the volume of nutrients tucked into their low-calorie, low-carbohydrate, low-glycemic index
  • The article also shared that, “the U.S. Department of Agriculture recognizes the benefits of dark green vegetables on the basis of color, and recommends incorporating at least three cups (cooked, or 6 cups raw) in your diet every week, based on 2,000 calories per day.”
  • Also stated, “greens, such as collard and mustard greens and spinach, are rich sources of vitamins A, C, K and folate — a water-soluble B vitamin that supports cell production, such as for hair, skin and nails, and may protect against diseases.”
  • Many varieties of vegetables supply 20 to 30 percent of your daily recommendation for calcium in a one-cup cooked serving.
  • The article also featured information from that shared, “all of these antioxidants and nutrients in leafy green vegetables work together to fend off illness. Consumption of these vegetables is linked to protection against mental decline, and better heart, bone and eye heal­th. At near 25 calories per one-­cup serving (uncooked), adding leafy green vegetables to your daily diet is an excellent way to promote long-term health.”

Summer Salad Time: Strawberry, Goat Cheese, and Toasted Hazelnut Salad

Summer Salad Time Strawberry Goat Cheese Salad
Strawberry Salad Photo by Molly Watson

Today’s salad is filled with color and texture: bright red strawberries, toasted hazelnuts, chunks of crumbled goat cheese – on top of a fresh, crispy head of living Butter Lettuce. Then there’s the homemade dressing that is infused with garlic, honey and other ingredients that make this salad even more eye-appealing. Don’t be surprised if your guests leave impressed.

This recipe will make 6 servings:

1/4 cup hazelnuts
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. dijon-style mustard
1 tsp. honey
1 clove garlic, minced
1 shallot, minced
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 head Living Butter Lettuce, washed and torn into bite-size pieces
1 cup strawberries
1/4 cup goat cheese, crumbled

For the complete preparation instructions, please visit:

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Butter Lettuce, Bacon, and Tomato (BBLT) Chicken Wraps

BBLT Chicken Avocado Wraps
Photo Courtesy of Wish-Bone

What do slices of crispy bacon, fresh butter lettuce, and bright red tomatoes give you? A great BBLT sandwich. Today’s recipe takes it even further in flavor by incorporating chicken, slices of avocado, Wish-Bone’s Light® Honey Dijon Dressing, and Hellmann’s® or Best Foods® Light Mayonnaise. Don’t forget the absolute must, Living Butter Lettuce, which catches all of those flavors for you. Wrap that up in a whole wheat flour tortilla, and let the good times roll!

This recipe will make 4 servings:

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1/2 cup Wish-Bone Light® Honey Dijon Dressing
1 Tbsp. Hellmann’s® or Best Foods® Light Mayonnaise
4 (10-in.) whole wheat flour tortillas
2 cups thinly sliced Living Butter Lettuce
2 medium tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 avocado, cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices
4 slices bacon, crisp-cooked

Shout out to Wish-Bone for the inspiration and for the complete instructions, head over to this recipe page:

Salad Recipe with Papaya for Summer

Salad Recipe with Living Butter LettuceToday’s recipe is inspired by Midtown Olive Press and is a perfect salad to enjoy outside on a summer afternoon. This salad has ingredients such as avocado, lime juice, and papaya, which give it a refreshing and citrusy taste. There is also honey in the recipe, which adds an appealing, sweet note of flavor. Living Butter Lettuce helps capture all of the invigorating ingredients with every bite. Eat this cool salad with a mason jar filled with freshly squeezed lemonade and enjoy the summer breeze.

Here is what you’ll need:

  • 1/3 Cup Lime Juice (About 3 Limes)
  • 1 Teaspoon Ground Cumin
  • 1 Tablespoon Honey
  • 2/3 Cup Midtown Olive Press Avocado Oil
  • Salt And Pepper To Taste
  • 1 Ripe Papaya
  • 1 Head of Living Butter Lettuce
  • 2 Avocados

Thank you MidTown Olive Press for the inspiration and for the full recipe, please visit the following: Do you have a favorite Summer time salad recipe? If so, please share on the blog, Facebook, or Twitter!

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Hollandia Produce Donates 3 Salad Bars to Local High Schools

LMSBTSAs part of the Let’s Move Salad Bars to California Schools initiative, Live Gourmet’s parent company has donated three salad bars to local Santa Barbara schools. The three new, fully equipped, salad bars will be utilized in the cafeterias at Dos Pueblos High School, San Marcos High School and Santa Barbara High School. As articulated by CEO Pete Overgaag, “it is Hollandia’s hope that by donating these salad bars, students will develop healthy eating habits and influence their parents to purchase fresher produce at the grocery store.”

Let’s Move Salad Bars to California Schools initiative supports Team California for Healthy Kids, a program started by California State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson to increase access to fresh foods and salad bars. United Fresh and its membership, including Hollandia Produce, is collaborating with the California State Department of Education to achieve these shared goals.

Below, San Marcos High School parent and Hollandia Produce Controller Ellen Seyle reviews a newly installed salads bar with Santa Barbara Unified School District Director of Food Services Nancy Weiss at San Marcos High School.

Let's Move Salad Bars to California Schools initiative
Pictured: Nancy Weiss left and Ellen Seyle on the right

For more information about the Let’s Move Salad Bars to California Schools initiative, visit United Fresh.
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Grower Pete’s Organic Living Butter Lettuce and Watercress Up for Award

Grower Pete's Organic Living Butter Lettuce
Grower Pete’s Organic Living Butter Lettuce

If you haven’t heard, the Hollandia and Live Gourmet family of products also includes Grower Pete’s, a source for still living and organic butter lettuce and watercress. These veggies have the same, still living freshness you’re used to from Live Gourmet, plus are USDA Certified Organic! With that in mind, it’s no wonder that Grower Pete’s is one of six semifinalists for the “Best New Vegetable Products” Award at the United Fresh 2013 trade expo.

Grower Pete's Organic Living Water Cress
Grower Pete’s Organic Living Water Cress

If you find yourself at United Fresh 2013 this May, be sure to drop by and cast your vote for Grower Pete’s as 2013’s Best New Vegetable Product! Then drop by your local supermarket and try some for yourself!

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