Getting Back to the ‘Roots’ of Earth Day with Live Gourmet


Earth Day 16Did you know Earth Day, the largest secular observance in the world, began a stone’s throw away in Santa Barbara? In 1969 , the largest oil spill the country had ever seen transpired off the coast of the city, resulting in the loss of thousands of birds and marine life. Inspired by the student anti-war movement, emboldened by the community’s outrage of the spill and witnessing its devastating aftermath, Senator Gaylord Nelson from Wisconsin wanted to rally a collective consciousness about the environment. This prompted him to create an annual Earth Day (April 22) in 1970.

Since then, Santa Barbara area citizens and people around the world commemorate the day in a number of ways, including consuming less meat, cutting down on disposable plastic and composting. Many individuals and businesses, like ours, don’t only observe on Earth Day, but practice sustainability year round.

At Hollandia Produce we take environmental issues seriously. Our hydroponic growing technique recycles water while also limiting water loss due to evaporation. Hollandia Produce produces nearly four times the yield per acre while using up to 84% less water than if our lettuce were field-grown (exact figures depend upon the region, soil structure, time of year and irrigation method used).

In addition to being water conscious, we utilize 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. And we’ve reduced the amount of plastic needed to manufacture these clamshells by 15% in recent years.

How will you and your family observe Earth Day this year? For ideas, go to our Earth Day Month Pinterest board.   

Live Gourmet Celebrates Made in America Month


National Made in America Month began in the 1980s to help revitalize the economy and to encourage individuals to buy products from the good ole USA. Each December, Americans recognize the tradition along with the more recent campaign “Grown in America.”

CAgrownDid you know? “California produces a sizable majority of many American fruits, vegetables, and nuts,” reports At Hollandia Produce, all of our products are grown in Carpinteria, California. Our greenhouse growing methods allow us to provide our greens year-round to our consumers.

Though we have a rich history in California, our company’s roots trace back nearly 100 years to Holland, where CEO Pete Overgaag’s grandfather Leo first began farming. In 1953, Pete’s father and Hollandia Produce Founder Art Overgaag started his own nursery in Den Hoorn, Holland, growing tomatoes in the spring and summer and lettuce in the winter. About fifteen years later, Art moved his family to America, eventually settling in the Carpinteria/Santa Barbara area. Today, our company includes GROWER PETE’S® and LIVE GOURMET® products. They have won a number of awards, including the American Tasting Institute gold medal award for flavor and taste.

Our growing traditions of the past helped develop our present method: the continuous-flow-hydroponic system known as nutrient film technique (NFT). Pete has mentioned that his farmer forefathers have inspired him “to keep innovating” sustainable farming practices.  

We’re proud to be a “Grown in America” business. Find our products today in honor of National Made in America Month!






World Food Day, Oct. 16th


Join us this Friday, October 16 in a virtual toast to farmers as we honor World Food Day. With world hunger reduced from 18.6% in 1992, down to 10.9% in 2014, there’s reason to celebrate this milestone (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations).

Did you know? According to the World Farmer’s Organization, “Farmers are instrumental in fighting hunger and finding concrete remedies to address issues affecting food insecurity and nutrition.” That’s why we are proud to bring attention and join our fellow farmers in honoring endeavors to provide healthy, safe food for our customers and community members everywhere.

How Does Hollandia join the fight against hunger? We are involved in the community throughout the year. We’ve donated over 100,000 heads of our Living Butter Lettuce and Watercress to the Santa Barbara County Food Bank and Ventura FOOD Share. We’ve also contributed salad bars to area schools as part of United Fresh Foundation’s “Let’s Move Salad Bars to California Schools” campaign.

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 and yields up to 3.5 times the leafy greens.

Join us and celebrate World Food Day 2015 by posting a picture of yourself with your glass raised and include a personalized toast on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter with #ToastAFarmer and #WFT2015. Don’t forget to tag us @livegourmet!


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.

Conserving Water With Every Crop


Live Gourmet is committed to conserving water with every crop. Our hydroponics growing techniques (visual above) help recycle precious water resources, reduce overall water use, limit water loss due to evaporation, and stop soil erosion.

Even more rewarding is that all of our efforts contribute to the protection of local riparian and estuary habitats. Conserving water this way has helped agricultural inputs become minimized, conserved and maintained in the growing area.

Conserve-waterOur hydroponics greenhouse production of lettuce generally produces 3.55 times more lettuce per acre than conventional field growing methods. This helps reduce the amount of arable land necessary for production. Our hydroponics system also conserves from 66% to 84% of the water that would be used if the lettuce were grown in the fields, depending upon the region, soil structure, time of year and irrigation method used.

Together, we are not only providing you and your family the freshest lettuce and leafy greens possible, but we are conserving water, one drop at a time.

Live Gourmet’s Greenhouse Farming

The owners of Hollandia Produce have been practicing greenhouse farming for about three generations. Today, the company still proudly practices greenhouse and sustainable methods.

In addition, all waste is recycled. This includes plastic, cardboard, wood, and overall green waste. In comparison to field growing, Live Gourmet uses 75% less water with the help of hydroponic methods.

In this YouTube video, Peter Overgaag, the president of Hollandia products, talks about Live Gourmet’s greenhouse and hydroponic methods. He also discusses the company’s background and explains packaging methods so families can have the freshest greens possible.

We invite you to watch this video to learn more about the history of Live Gourmet as well as their great sustainable practices.

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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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Hollandia Produce Supports PMA Foundation for Industry Talent

Roots Matter at Hollandia ProduceHollandia Produce LLC, (yes, that’s us, your grower of Live Gourmet Living Leafy Greens) recently made a multi-year financial commitment to support PMA’s Foundation for Industry Talent to help sustain a vibrant global produce industry through its most valuable resource: PEOPLE.

We pledged to donate to PMA’s F.I.T. for 3 years and it is part of our ongoing community and trade outreach programs. We are pleased to be able to contribute to the growth and development of our industry

Please see PMA’s F.I.T. site for more information about their vision and mission.

Live Gourmet at PMA Fresh Summit

PMA Fresh Summit LogoHave you got plans for next weekend? We sure do! On Saturday, October 27 & 28 Hollandia Produce (yes, that’s us, your makers of Live Gourmet Living Leafy Greens) will be attending the PMA Fresh Summit Convention in Anaheim, California.

PMA’s (Produce Marketing Association) Fresh Summit is the largest produce related trade show in the world.  We’ll be running a booth and hanging out with fellow vegetable growers, supermarket workers, and others from the fresh produce industry.

We invite anyone with plans of attending the Fresh Summit to stop by and visit with us in booth 2191.

In 2011, we received PMA’s Impact Award for our revolutionary space-saving “squircle” packaging.

Our Live Gourmet products are harvested with their roots intact to promote freshness and flavor and each product is “Absolutely Fresh because it’s still Alive!” Sustainably grown in our state of the art greenhouses and packaged with care, every Live Gourmet product meets our strict quality assurance standards and provides a repeatable just picked farm freshness with every package. Unmatched product uniformity and an industry leading GFS / HAACP Food Safety program make Live Gourmet products a favorite with grocers, consumers and white tablecloth chefs across America.

If you’re planning on attending the PMA Fresh Summit, drop by the Hollandia booth and say hello! We’d love to chat with you!

Can’t make it to the convention? We’d still love to hear from you!
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