Running into Fall: Eat Leafy Greens to Give Your Athletic Performance a Boost


A woman runs as the sun sets. Two images for leafy green salads accompany the runner photo.Marathon running may not be synonymous with fall pastimes like sipping pumpkin lattes or heading to the cider mill. Yet, thousands of diligent individuals are preparing for half and full marathons around the world this season. These athletes have to properly cross-train, fit in ample training time and stretch to successfully complete their goals. They also have to be mindful of what they eat. In fact, intense bouts of physical activity like marathon running deplete one’s antioxidant levels. According to the Mayo Clinic, plant-based foods, like Pete’s Living Upland Cress and Organic Watercress, are the best sources of antioxidants.

 Why are these substances important?

“Powerful antioxidants found in dark leafy greens, including lettuce, can benefit athletes by reducing damage to cells during exercise and in recovery,” says Barbara Ruhs, Arizona-based Registered Dietitian and Nutrition Expert. “In addition, leafy greens are a source of hydration and a variety of vitamins (vitamin C), minerals (potassium, magnesium) and nutrients (fiber) that may enhance athletic performance.”

When our bodies undergo physical exertion, we produce free radicals, and there is evidence linking free radical production to the process of aging and DNA and cell damage. Ruhs mentions a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition that found that subjects who consumed watercress daily before working out, experienced less DNA damage than their non-consuming watercress counterparts.

You don’t have to be a marathon runner to reap the benefits of a healthy diet and exercise regime.  The American Heart Association recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity at least 5 days per week or at least 25 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity at least 3 days per week.  Our Pete’s Living Greens products are an excellent addition to a well-balanced diet for active individuals of all levels. Peruse our blog and Facebook page, for a variety of nutritional yet tasty recipes.

You can find Barbara Ruhs on Twitter at @BarbRuhsRD, Facebook, Pinterest and on


Watercress: From Stem to Leaf


Photos of watercress on a cutting board, a plate of paste with cressto pesto and ingredients to make a salad on a kitchen counterHave you heard that watercress is the most nutrient dense vegetable around? You may have thought it was kale but both highly touted nutrient density reports from Patterson University and Dr. Joel Furhman’s ANDI score have Watercress on top, not ubiquitous kale. This versatile leafy green is loaded with phytonutrients, cancer-fighting antioxidants, and essential vitamins. One serving contains as much vitamin C as an orange and more calcium than a glass of milk.

To get the most available nutrients from our Live Gourmet Living Upland Cress and Grower Pete’s Organic Brand of Living Watercress, you can use the entire cress from stem to leaf. You’ll also be minimizing food waste by eating it in its entirety.

Here are a few facts and pointers on storing and eating our Living Upland Cress and Watercress from stem to leaf.

Why are the roots attached?

Our Live Gourmet brand and certified organic Grower Pete’s brand of Living greens are harvested with their roots attached. This allows them to preserve freshness (usually 5-7 days longer) than conventionally grown greens.

A bonus about our certified organic Grower Pete’s brand: they’re organic all the way to their root balls unlike other hydroponic produce providers who also harvest with the roots attached. Additionally, Grower Pete’s brand complies with the most recent USDA’s NOP ruling and is naturally compostable.

How to Store

Store our cress products in an air tight container (such as a Ziploc® or Tupperware®) with their roots still attached. Refrigerate your greens as soon as possible. Produce needs to be stored below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Cress products should be kept in the crisper section.

How to Prepare

Remove the amount of leaves and stems from the root ball that is necessary for your recipe, rinse and pat dry. Return any unused cress with roots and all to your refrigerator and place in the crisper section.

Not sure how incorporate stems and all?

Three recipes that you can include watercress from stem to leaf:

  1. Live Gourmet Cressto Pesto Sauce 
  2. The Detox Specialist’s Tropical Watercress Detox Smoothie 
  3. Watercress soup any way 



Live Gourmet’s Favorite Springtime Watercress Salads


Spring has graced us with its presence for a number of weeks now. You’ve probably noticed that trees are blooming, more people are frequenting parks and a larger variety of produce is trickling into your neighborhood market. As the weather continues to warm, you may find yourself inclined to cook lighter with more seasonal ingredients.

grower-pete's-organic-watercressWhy not choose from the plethora of spring-inspired salads out there? We’ve picked our favorite ones just for you. What we also found during our search is that watercress proves to be an exemplary salad green.

Its peppery bite gives even the simplest of salads a new dimension. Moreover, it will boost your dish’s vitamin and mineral content. This versatile leafy green is loaded with phytonutrients, cancer-fighting antioxidants, and essential vitamins. One serving contains as much vitamin C as an orange, more calcium than a glass of milk, and tons of fiber.

Though these recipes are inspired by this season, you can still make them at any time in the year with our Living Watercress. Unlike traditional field growing, our greens are grown hydroponically in state-of-the-art greenhouses where we control light, temperature, humidity, and nutrients. While our growing cycle is mildly affected by seasonal changes, our greenhouse growing method allows us to grow your favorite LIVE GOURMET® and GROWER PETE’S® products with consistent uniformity year-round.

Delish’s Watercress Salad with Verjus Vinaigrette

Here our Favorite Springtime Salads with our Living Watercress:

Delish’s Watercress Salad with Verjus Vinaigrette – This salad has a secret ingredient, Verjus, a pressed, unfermented juice of unripe grapes, which gives the greens a sweet and slightly acidic taste.

BBC Good Food turns the traditional salad on its head and incorporates watercress in the dressing.

Root vegetables like Chioggia beets and black radishes add a heirloom touch to Love and Lemon’s Spring Root Watercress Salad.

The sumac yogurt dressing gives Saveur’s Kohlrabi, Apple and Watercress Salad a Middle Eastern flair.

In Eating Well’s Asian-inspired salad, a warm sesame shallot vinaigrette is added. Perfect for the early—and perhaps sometimes chilly—days of spring!

How to Make Infused Body Oil with Live Gourmet Living Watercress


You’ve probably heard that our Living Watercress is the most nutrient-dense superfood, and a versatile ingredient to variety of culinary dishes from around the world. But what you may not know is that it’s also an excellent natural skin and hair remedy—it’s been known to even promote hair growth. If you need more convincing, read Leven Rose’s “10 Reasons Watercress Oil will Spice up your Beauty Routine.”

Watercress Infused OilThis week, we’re here to show how to make infused body oil with our Living Watercress (inspired by Grow Forage Cook Ferment and Herbal Academy of New England).

What You’ll Need

Live Gourmet Living Upland Cress or Grower Pete’s Living Watercress

A glass jar with a tight fitting lid

A mortar and pestle

A carrier oil (jojoba, olive, castor or apricot seed oils are great options)

Vitamin E oil, optional

Dark glass bottle with lid

Cheesecloth and strainer

Tip: Make sure your watercress is as dry as possible so that oil doesn’t become rancid during the infusion process. You can dry it out the old fashioned way—upside down in a well-ventilated space out of direct sunshine. But, if you’re short on time, you can put trimmed herbs in the microwave. For instructions, go to Serious Eats.


  1. Once your watercress is as dry as possible, grind the greens in a mortar and pestle.
  2. Add approximately one ounce of watercress to ten ounces of oil in a clean, dry jar. Stir the mixture to get rid of any air bubbles which could cause oxidation and screw on lid tightly.
  3. Place the jar in a warm, sunny spot for approximately 4-6 weeks, checking on it every few days.
  4. After 4-6 weeks, strain the mixture with a cheese cloth-lined strainer into a bowl to separate the plant parts from the infused watercress oil.
  5. Transfer the oil into a dark glass bottle, add a few drops of Vitamin E oil (it helps keep the infused oil fresh) and secure with the lid and store in a cool dry place.

Want instant infused oil gratification? Try the slow cooker method as described on Pioneer Settler

Hollandia Produce Returns to Natural Products Expo West


CEO Pete Overgaag at the Natural Products Expo West (Image courtesy of Natural Products Expo.)

Next week Hollandia Produce will showcase its Grower Pete’s Organic brand of Living Butter Lettuce and Living Watercress as a green exhibitor at the Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, CA being held March 11-13, 2016. Projected to be the largest in its 36-year history, the sold out event will play host to more than 3,000 companies and 70,000 attendees.

In addition to exhibiting thousands of natural and organic companies, the conference also offers educational sessions. This year, the sessions will explore themes on trust, vitality and stewardship in relation to business practices.

Here at Hollandia Produce, we continually aim to better serve our customers. One way we do this is by putting our brands to the test. Grower Pete’s Living Butter Lettuce and Living Watercress are USDA certified organic by CCOF and Non-GMO verified. 

What do those terms mean exactly? For food to be deemed organic, it must be grown and processed without synthetic fertilizers or pesticides and certified by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). While GMOs are organisms whose genetic material has been artificially manipulated in a laboratory through genetic engineering, or GE. 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.

Keeping in mind our customers’ best interests, we also are dedicated to food safety. We comply with and exceed all Good Agriculture Practice (GAP) guidelines set forth by the US FDA in the National Food Safety Initiative a set of science based protocols designed to reduce microbial food safety hazards in fresh produce. 

We look forward to sharing our Grower Pete’s Brand with new consumers and industry leaders while gaining new insight into business practices to better serve you and your families!

The Top Five Wrap Recipes with our Living Butter Lettuce Varieties


The lettuce wrap is a versatile mealtime option whether you’re on-the-go, watching your carb intake or wishing to increase your vegetable servings. We’re here to share our top five wrap recipes, but before we reveal our favorites, read on to learn more about the secret ingredient: our Living Butter Lettuce varieties.

Screen shot 2015-04-20 at 9.15.13 PMButter lettuce proves to be a superior stand-in for a shell, pita or bread. Its crisp texture gives the right amount of crunch while its luscious, billowing leaves allow you to pile ingredients on to your heart’s content. Not to mention, it’s rich in calcium and a good source of iron, vitamins A and C.

What makes our Living Butter Lettuce and Red Butter Lettuce varieties stand out from the pack? First, all of our Living Butter Lettuce products, including our certified organic brand 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. 

What are you waiting for? Try your hand at a lettuce wrap recipe tonight. You can find Live Gourmet® Living Butter Lettuce at grocers nationwide, and our Living Red Butter Lettuce is now available at Albertsons and Vons.

Short Rib Lettuce Cups

Live Gourmet’s Top Five Wrap Recipes

  1. For the vegan lover who doesn’t want miss out at the party – Delish Knowledge’s Buffalo Chickpea Lettuce Wrap 
  2. For your all Taco Tuesday needs – Live Gourmet’s Low-Carb Gluten Free Taco Recipe
  3. A dish for your next cocktail party – Jill Silverman Hough’s Hazelnut Shrimp Salad in Butter Lettuce Cups 
  4. A lunchtime meal that’s tasty to you and your kids – Carlsbad Craving’s Poppy Seed Chicken Fruit Salad Wrap 
  5. For the culinary adventurer – Half Baked Harvest’s Thai Short Rib Lettuce Wraps

Up Your Fruits and Veggies Intake this February by Juicing


February is a rough month for many of us. The holidays are a distant memory and, in some parts of the country, there are many gray days ahead before spring emerges. It’s easy to fall into patterns of unhealthy eating and little exercise when the weather is dismal. However, instead of hiding under the covers until the sun and warm weather returns, stay the course by practicing healthy eating habits.


To stay on track, add meals made with whole fruits and vegetables that are high in vitamins and minerals to your daily diet. One way to do this is by juicing. CNN says, “New research shows eating up to seven servings of fruits and vegetables a day can have a significant impact on your lifespan. For those of us who don’t have time to cut up or cook two servings with every meal, juicing is an easy way to consume them on the go.”

Our Living Watercress and Upland Cress are excellent additions to juices. Based on its nutrient-to-calorie ratio, watercress is ranked highest on the nutrient scale. This versatile leafy green is loaded with phytonutrients, cancer-fighting antioxidants, and essential vitamins. In fact, one serving of this peppery flavored veggie contains as much vitamin C as an orange, more calcium than a glass of milk, and tons of fiber. The Detox Specialist has several whole food beverage recipes like its Tropical Watercress Detox Smoothie. We’ve included it in this post for you to try!

Share your own fresh juice concoctions, smoothies and more made with our Living Watercress and Live Gourmet on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Tag us @livegourmet!

The Detox Specialist’s Tropical Watercress Detox Smoothie
Serves 1
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  1. 1 cup fresh or frozen mango cubes
  2. 3/4 cup fresh pineapple
  3. 1 small handful of Grower Pete’s™ Organic Living Watercress
  4. 1 large handful of organic baby spinach
  5. 1 cup pure water approx. Use less or more according to how thick you like your smoothie
  6. 1/2 teaspoon stevia powder (optional)
  1. For the directions, go to
Pete's Living Greens Blog

Show Some Culinary Love this Valentine’s Day During American Heart Month


OV26AOMUMIFebruary is American Heart Month, and according to the CDC, nearly 1 in 3 deaths in the US each year is caused by heart disease and stroke. At least 200,000 deaths from heart disease and stroke each year are preventable. What can you do prevent heart disease? Stop smoking, incorporate a daily exercise regime, and maintain a healthy and balanced diet says the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

Eating foods such as leafy greens and vibrantly colored fruits that contain flavonoids, plant compounds found in various foods and drinks, are rich antioxidants that are thought to help prevent cell damage. A Finnish study concluded that a high intake of flavonoids could be protective against heart disease.

Our Living Watercress and Upland Cress are among those fruits and vegetables that are excellent sources of flavonoids and other impactful antioxidants. Show some culinary love this Valentine’s Day by preparing a meal that’s heart healthy and high in vitamins and minerals.

datwatercresssssssFirst, pick up our Grower Pete’s Brand Organic Living Watercress or Live Gourmet Living Upland Cress at your local market. Then, start with Food Network UK’s Bruschetta with Gorgonzola, Balsamic Figs, Mint and Watercress or Food 52’s Oyster’s Rockefeller (which are thought to be an aphrodisiac) with Watercress and Greens. Is your sweetheart a vegetarian? Don’t fret. You can still cook a romantic meal that meets both of your dietary needs without sacrificing flavor, like Sainsburys Magazine’s Pan-Fried Gnocchi with Watercress Mint Pesto. Last, but certainly not least, indulge in a bottle of red wine or dark chocolate. They too are rich in flavonoids!

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.

Live Gourmet Unveils Unconventional Ways to Use Living Watercress


Food52 reminds us that watercress is a versatile ingredient in many recipes. It’s a delightful addition to a variety of fare from Italian to Thai, but it can also be utilized in a number of other, albeit unconventional, ways.  

Did you know? British author Colin Spencer wrote that the Romans treated insanity with watercress and vinegar. And according to legend, the early Greek physician Hippocrates grew watercress to treat blood disorders. Today, it’s infused into veggie forward cocktails and is even an integral ingredient in some organic body products.

We’ve provided a few out-of-the-box ways you can include watercress into your daily routine from the kitchen to the medicine cabinet.

Unconventional Ways to Use our Living Watercress:


  1. Now that we’re in flu and cold season, add watercress to your daily diet as a vitamin booster. Based on its nutrient-to-calorie ratio, watercress is ranked highest on the nutrient scale; it even has more vitamin C than oranges and other citrus. Vitamin C helps the body fight again against immune system deficiencies and the common cold.
  1. Swap basil and mint for watercress in your infused water, iced tea or lemonade for a robust, thirst quenching variation.
  1. Use watercress as a natural breath freshener. BBC Good Food writes: “Curiously the peppery taste of watercress has a cooling effect, a paradox that was noted by the celebrated 14th century French chef Taillevent…He prepared a lavish banquet and served watercress after the fourth course, writing on the menu ‘Watercress, served alone to refresh the mouth’.”
  1. Make our ‘cressto’ pesto sauce for your Friday night pizza, pasta or even salmon.
Serves 4
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  1. 3 cups watercress, root ball removed, rinsed and patted dry
  2. 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  3. 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  4. 1/2 cup grape seed oil
  5. 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  6. 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  7. 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  8. 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  1. In blender or food processor, combine cress and garlic and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add remaining ingredients and process until blended.
  2. To serve: Drizzle over pasta, risotto, fish, meat or eggs, or use as a spread.
  1. Nutritional analysis per 1-tablespoon serving: 86 calories, 9 grams fat, 1 gram carbohydrates, trace protein, trace cholesterol, 52 miligrams sodium, trace dietary fiber, 96 percent of calories from fat.
Pete's Living Greens Blog