Live Gourmet Heads to Viva Fresh Expo and Shares New Living Baby Romaine Product

retailer

On April 2 we’ll be heading to San Antonio, TX to the Viva Fresh Expo. The regional trade show allows exhibitors like Hollandia Produce to network and share their products with retail and foodservice buyers. Additionally, attendees can take part in educational offerings with topics ranging from emerging techniques for growers to the latest trends in produce merchandising.

We’re proud to launch our Living Baby Romaine retail product at the Expo. It’s our newest product in our Live Gourmet® family! The green, like our Living Butter Lettuce, Watercress and Upland Cress, is sold with its roots attached to preserve maximum freshness.

Baby Romaine 2It’s also is non-GMO verified, meaning it doesn’t contain genetic material that has been artificially manipulated in a laboratory through genetic engineering. The Non-GMO Project offers North America’s only third-party verification for non-GMO food and products. This endorsement represents Hollandia Produce’s ongoing commitment to use all natural ingredients in the production of its products, be it conventional or organic.

Living Baby Romaine is the perfect portion for one to two people, which also helps minimize waste. Why introduce Living Baby Romaine into your diet? The leafy green has more vitamin A than a carrot and is a rich source of vitamin K (a key role in helping blood clot) and omega 3 fatty acids (say goodbye to fish oil supplements!). Live Strong provides more reasons to eat romaine lettuce to maintain a balanced and healthy diet. Living Baby Romaine is a great addition to a variety of wraps, sandwiches and, of course, salads. After all, what would Caesar salad be without romaine?

We look forward to sharing our experience of the Viva Fresh Expo, and stay tuned for news of Live Gourmet® Living Baby Romaine coming soon to a grocery store near you!

 

 

 

Say Thanks to Mom by Hosting a Mother’s Day Brunch

 

This Sunday, give your mom or grandma a day off from the kitchen and create a festive seasonal brunch. There’s no need to plan multi-courses–just a tasty meal with simple, fresh ingredients that can be enjoyed indoors or al fresco.

A variety of ingredients are displayed in colorful bowls
Click on the image to see how these baked eggs come together!

Live Gourmet® Living Upland Cress and certified organic Grower Pete’s Living Watercress are versatile ingredients for any springtime recipe. These greens add a peppery bite and a vibrant hue to the classic French Oeufs en Cocotte (a.k.a. baked eggs). Add tomatoes for even more color and flavor. In some states, heirloom varieties are beginning to pop up at local farmer’s markets, but grocery store cherry tomatoes work well too. As for nutrition, this dish packs a punch. Both watercress (a nutrient-dense superfood) and tomatoes are rich in antioxidants and provide ample amounts of vitamin K, a key component for maintaining strong bones.

A martini glass filled with Watercress Elderflower cocktail
Watercress & Elderflower Martini by Robert Merjavy, Chester, UK. Photo: Gazregan.com

Round out your meal and sop up those delectable eggs with slices of fresh French bread. And, remember to raise your glass (a Robert Merjavy’s Elderflower Watercress Martini perhaps?) and toast your special matriarch! After all, she did bring you into this world. Happy Mother’s Day!


 

Baked Eggs with Watercress, Tomatoes and Pancetta (for four)

Ingredients:

8 eggs

4 pats of butter

½ bunch of watercress

1 large heirloom tomato (or a handful of cherry tomatoes)

4 slices of pancetta

4 tsp cream

4 tsp Parmesan

Salt & pepper

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Smear the pats of butter on the inside of four large-size ramekins or small oven-proof shallow bowls.
  3. Sauté the pancetta to crisp over medium heat (approximately 5 minutes). Set aside.
  4. Shred the parmesan.
  5. Chop the watercress into bite-size pieces and slice the tomatoes.
  6. Lay a small handful of watercress at the bottom of the ramekin, creating a cradle for the eggs.
  7. Break two eggs each in each ramekin.
  8. Add 1 tsp of cream to each ramekin.
  9. Lay slices of tomatoes on top of the eggs
  10. Divide the pancetta and parmesan and sprinkle both ingredients on the top of each egg mixture.
  11. Season with salt and pepper.
  12. Place the ramekins on a baking sheet and cook for 10-15 minutes. The whites of the eggs should be set while the yolks should be runny.

 

Juicing with Grace McGuire, A Vegan Super Mom and Health Blogger

 

Grace McGuire is a passionate mother of two based in Allen, TX. A vegan since she was 22-years-old, McGuire often shares her nutrient-dense juices on Instagram and will share her foodie wisdom on her soon-to-be blog Nourish with Whole Foods.

We recently had the pleasure to speak with McGuire on her secret to leading a healthy lifestyle while raising a family. This is an excerpt from our conversation.

Grace4Live Gourmet: How did you initially become interested in healthy eating and Veganism?

Grace McGuire: I have been a vegan since I was 22-years-old. I was having a lot of stomach issues and the doctor suggested I go on a rabbit diet (leafy greens and vegetables) for a few weeks to regulate my stomach cramping and give my digestive system a little break from all the meat and processed fast foods I was consuming.

In the meantime, my oldest sister was in need of a kidney transplant and needed her siblings to get tested to see if we were a match. I started doing more research into how I could help get my body ready for the journey ahead and for all of the testing. I came across Veganism and how amazing it was at healing the body of inflammation and toxicity. I became a vegan shortly after. Although no one in our family was a match, by God’s grace, my sister was able to get a kidney from a family who donated their son’s kidney. We are so grateful to them and their enormous generosity to give life after losing their son.

grace1LG: How do you maintain healthy lifestyle while juggling work, your kids and personal life?

GM: I have two little boys and one of the many things I want to teach them is to live a healthy lifestyle. I always prep and plan ahead. For example, I soak oats, quinoa flakes with nut milk and chia seeds for breakfast. I also always have quinoa and legumes on hand for protein. I keep my pantry and fridge stocked with seasonal organic fruits and vegetables. I also use a lot of dry herbs as well as fresh herbs to give my plant based cooking some flavor and added nutrients.

LG: What advice do you have for mothers who are looking to make changes in their family’s eating habits but don’t have a lot of time to prepare meals?

GM: I know a lot of moms who don’t have a lot of time. With the little time they do have, they don’t want to spend it in the kitchen. My advice is to plan ahead and keep it simple. My mom is an excellent example. She doesn’t have time on the weekdays to cook with her job. I advised her to make quinoa and add frozen peas, corn, lemon juice, olive oil, kale, spinach and watercress for a simple and nutritious meal on-the-go. It doesn’t need to be heated and she can put it in a jar and have it in her purse whenever she gets hungry.

Grace 2LG: Any advice on how to get kids to eat their vegetables?

GM: If you have a desire to eat avocados so will your little one! Kids tend to mimic everything we do, including what we put in our bodies. They might not be hungry, but if they
see you eating an apple, [chances are] they then will want a bite. Teaching our kids healthy food habits at a young age prepares them for food choices they make in their future.


 

Grace3Grace’s Anti-Inflammatory Juice with Living Watercress:

Ingredients:

1 Pineapple

1 cabbage

2-3 handfuls of spinach

1 bundle of Living watercress

1 lime (peeled)

2 celery stalks

Add all the ingredients to your juicer according to the manufacturer’s setting and enjoy over ice.

Did you know?: Drink Grace’s signature juice before hitting the gym. A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition reports that eating a small amount of watercress each day raised levels of key antioxidants that fend of DNA damage caused by exercise.

 

Greens Abound in Easter and Passover Meals

 

This week all over the world, families and friends will gather to celebrate Passover (April 3-11) and Easter (April 5). Cooking a special meal for your loved ones can be stressful, but with a bit of planning, you can calmly create delectable dishes that your guests will remember for years to come.

One of the Passover traditions is the Seder dinner. The word Seder means order in Hebrew, which refers to 15 rituals that are Greens dipped in salted water as part of the Seder Dinner ritualperformed during the Passover Seder meal. One of those rituals is the dipping of a green such as watercress in a dish of salt water before eating. These greens symbolize the coming of spring and suggest the perpetual renewal of life.

Food Network’s Butternut Squash and Watercress Salad with Champagne Vinaigrette
Photo: foodnetwork.com

Watercress serves as an excellent side dish to the traditional Seder brisket. Try Food Network’s Butternut Squash and Watercress Salad with Champagne Vinaigrette; it will add color and crunch to the dinner. Or, if you’re a garlic lover, try Six Burner Sue’s Wilted Watercress with Garlic Chips.

Rack of Lamb with Watercress
Cooking channel TV.com Recipes: Michael-Symon

The Christian holiday also has an abundance of symbols and rituals, one of the most popular being the lamb. In past centuries, it was considered a lucky omen to meet a lamb, especially at Easter time. Ironically, not so fortunate for the lamb, as it’s become a traditional staple of the holiday meal. We recommend this Rack of Lamb with Watercress, featured last month on our Lettuce Be Fresh Blog.

If you have little ones, you’re sure to have a visit from the Easter Bunny who may be able to sway your youngsters into eating more vegetables–at least for the holiday. Hop into the kitchen and whip up this nutritious salad that will have your children cheering for more.

Easter Bunny Salad (Originally on the Lettuce be Fresh Blog in March 2011)

(6 Servings)
• 3 cups cottage cheese
• 2 to 3 tbsp. lemon juice
• 1/4 cup raisins
• 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
• 1 tbsp. poppy seeds
• 2 granny smith apples, diced
• 1 to 2 tbsp. honey
Combine everything and chill. Serve over a bed of Living Butter Lettuce

Happy Easter and Passover from Hollandia Produce L.P.

 

 

 

Wishing you a wonderful spring holiday season from our family to yours! Share your holiday meal photos with us via Instagram and Twitter @livegourmet

Get your Green on this St. Patrick’s Day!

Ring in this St. Patrick’s Day by getting your green on! There’s no need to sacrifice taste for nutrition during this sometimes raucous holiday.

! Start your day off right by tossing a handful of Grower Pete's certified Organic Living Watercress or Live Gourmet® Living Upland Cress into your AM smoothie. This Live Gourmet recipe inspired by Carrie on Vegan will keep you going during the long day of festivities.
Photo: carrieonliving.com

Top o’ the morning to you! Start your day off right by tossing a handful of Grower Pete’s certified Organic Living Watercress or Live Gourmet® Living Upland Cress into your AM smoothie. This Live Gourmet 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 brave the brisk air during a parade or party into the wee hours.

If your proclivity is a bit stronger, prepare Watercress Soup with Whiskey Cream from Food Network. Who said leafy greens and libations don’t go together?
Photo: foodnetwork.com

If you are planning a tame evening with friends, take a cue from the Irish for your dinner menu. Guinness Risotto with Shrimp and Watercress from Atlantic.com is a sophisticated dish that balances the iconic Irish brew with the emerald, peppery superfood. If your proclivity is a bit stronger, prepare Watercress Soup with Whiskey Cream from Food Network. Who said leafy greens and libations don’t go together?

Try this twist on corned beef and cabbage by using butter lettuce as the roll
Photo: foodnetwork.com

For a kid-friendly affair, try a twist on Food Network’s Corned-Beef-and-Cabbage-Rolls. As the Irish Proverb says, “It’s no use boiling your cabbage twice,” you might as well swap the pale veggie for Live Gourmet® brand butter lettuce or Grower Pete’s Certified Organic Living Butter Lettuce. You’ll be finished preparing this no-fuss meal before the grown-ups can say “sláinte” (pronounced “slaan-sha” and Gaelic for “good health”) as they clink glasses of Guinness. After dinner, have the family reuse the Live Gourmet® plastic clamshells that hold living 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!

Holiday Party Watercress Cocktail

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!

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

 

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!

Dos and Don’ts for Extending Leafy Greens

best-practices-for-produce

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.

Dos:

  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.

Don’ts:

  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!

fruits-and-veggies-more-matters

Super Confused about Superfoods?

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.

living-upland-cress-brochure

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?

Hollandia at PMA Foodservice Conference

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.