Posts tagged living food

Q and A Series: People, Products and the Health of Our Planet – Interview with Pete Overgagg, CEO Hollandia Produce – Hydroponic, Greenhouse Grown Vegetables

For the twelfth interview, I have the pleasure of introducing you to Pete Overgagg, CEO of Hollandia Produce: Hydroponic, Greenhouse Grown Vegetables

My Comments:

I have known about the “Grower Pete’s” Hydroponic Butter Lettuce, as I have seen it in health food stores in California and Florida. I loved to buy it because it lasts a lot longer then other lettuce, since the roots are still attached, which means, it is “living” as it is connected to its roots. It has a mild and delicious flavor. I had the pleasure to meet Pete and his lovely wife, Shelley at The Natural Product Expo/Expo West 2014 in Anaheim. I also did a live interview with him at the Expo, which you can check out on my youtube channel: http://www.youtube.com/TheRawsomeVeganGal

Question #1 Tell me briefly about yourself and why you decided to get involved in the “health” industry?

Initially, I didn’t choose to be a greenhouse grower; I was born into it!! Both my grandparents were greenhouse growers. In the late 1960s, my parents moved us and the family business from Holland to California. We started as greenhouse flower growers, but in the ‘80s, we rebranded ourselves as Hollandia Produce, growing hydroponic, greenhouse grown vegetables. Today, I serve as CEO, and although I spend much of my day in the office, my greatest satisfaction comes from being among the plants and growing healthy, natural food for a living.

Question #2 If you were stranded on a desert island and were allowed to bring only 5 health-related items with you, what would you bring and why?

Well, to survive on a desert island, I’d need tools that that would enable me to create healthy sustenance. That’s why I’d bring: 1) a large bag of assorted vegetable seed, to grow my own food; 2) a survival/utility knife; 3) a solar still, to ensure safe drinking water; 4) a bucket, to store and distribute water and other things; and 5) a water proof tarp, to shelter me from the elements. I think these items would definitely increase my chances for long-term survival!!

Question #3 What message do you want to share with people of this world that is crucial for their ultimate well-being and longevity?

I would recommend that people focus on eating more vegetables, cut out as many grains as possible, stay away from processed foods, especially soda and, of course, don’t smoke.

Question #4 If someone could afford to purchase only one product at this moment to start their journey towards better health (food or health related), what would you recommend and why?

I would recommend he or she go out and buy the book Primal Blueprint, by Mark Sisson. They should read it, take it to heart, and I think they’ll find themselves quickly on their way to better health.

Question #5 Tell me more about your company and your products and how they help achieve optimal health and well-being?

We help our customers achieve optimal health and well-being through the products we offer and the methods we use to grow them. Our Live Gourmet® and certified organic Grower Pete’s brands of leafy greens and lettuce are hydroponically greenhouse grown in protected growing environments and one of the cleanest in agriculture. Our hydroponic methods use far less water than field grown crops, and we practice sustainability throughout our production process, including using recycled packaging. Because our vegetables are sold with their roots intact, our customers also enjoy maximum freshness because the plants are still alive.

Question #6 What are your hopes/dreams/aspirations for the future health of our people and the planet?

My hope for our planet and its people is that we continue moving toward eating more vegetables and naturally raised food rather than processed. This is how it used to be, but we evolved away, now it seems like awareness is growing and we are cycling back towards healthier eating.

Question #7 Who is your greatest hero and why?

My parents, both of them. They took a huge risk in moving our business and family to the United States, at a time when they didn’t even speak the language. Their determination has inspired and encouraged me to take more risks and to have the confidence, as they did, in my ability to continue to grow and succeed.

"Wall" of  Hydroponic Butter Lettuce at Expo West in Anaheim, March 9, 2014

“Wall” of Hydroponic Butter Lettuce at Expo West in Anaheim, March 9, 2014

Display of Grower Pete's at Expo West in Anaheim 3/9/2014

Display of Grower Pete’s at Expo West in Anaheim 3/9/2014

Pete and Shelley Overgagg at Expo West in Anaheim 3/9/2014 in front of "The Wall" of Butter Lettuce and other displayed hydroponic greens.

Pete and Shelley Overgagg at Expo West in Anaheim 3/9/2014 in front of “The Wall” of Butter Lettuce and other displayed hydroponic greens.

Certified Organic Living Watercress from Grower Pete's

Certified Organic Living Watercress from Grower Pete’s

Back of package of Watercress with "Our Story" from Pete and Family

Back of package of Watercress with “Our Story” from Pete and Family

Also check out my youtube channel for a video review of all their produce that I do a tasting of: http://www.youtube.com/TheRawsomeVeganGal

To find out more about all the great products from Hollandia Produce, go to: http://www.livegourmet.com or http://www.growerpetes.com

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Company/Product Review: Dastony – 100% Organic, Raw, Stone Ground Nut and Seed Butters

Dastony – 100% Organic, Raw & Stone Ground Nut and Seed Butters in business since 2011

Here is what Anna, Windy City Organics Sales and Brand Outreach, emailed me about the company:
About 3 years ago we launched Dastony….
4 years ago we developed a healthy, pure, raw version of Nutella and coined it Rawtella….we used stone grinders to get this ultra silky consistency. The owner fell in love with the stone grinding process and decided to launch a bunch of nut butters as well using super high quality ingredients. We started with just almond, cashew, coconut and sesame and have just kept adding more and more. We now have 11 flavors all together including the 4 sprouted varieties.

Here is some information from their website:

About Dastony

The inspiration for Dastony came from a desire to share what we feel is the healthiest and by the far the smoothest nut and seed butters. We are a family owned company with uncompromising standards of purity, taste, and integrity. Our values are in place due to our deep understanding of the benefits that can be achieved through quality ingredients, and when it comes to taste, well, we work tirelessly in this respect. Our integrity is unwavering and our loyal customers and fans would testify to this. To read more go to: http://dastony.com/about-dastony.html

Why Stone Ground?
We’ve all witnessed the browning of an apple. When the fruit is cut or bruised browning occurs because living cells are damaged and begin to oxidize. Now imagine the process used during the production of a typical nut butter – mastication with heavy duty metal blades. This process literally shreds, tears and cuts repeatedly until the desired texture is achieved. Any living enzymes, viable nutrients, and ‘life’ would certainly dwindle.

RAW and LIVING are principles we at Dastony are truly passionate about. Like with anything living, the energy and vital compounds found in nuts and seeds are very delicate. Our method of stone grinding is the best way to preserve and cherish this life force. Large, flawless granite wheels slowly turn ‘grinding’ the food until it is silky smooth. Temperatures well below 118 degrees are continuously maintained – another gauge for the preservation of raw and living.

From their Facebook Page:
Curious what the stone grinding process looks like? Check out the premier of our behind the scenes video to see those grinders in action! http://youtu.be/yQP8276I1Lc

My Review:

I have found some great products to review, simply from doing a search on Amazon. Before I decide if I even will consider the product, I read the reviews on Amazon and then search on the company site to see that it complies with my own personal high standards for myself, as well as for the public who are reading my posts and also watching my videos. Instead of buying the product, I contacted the company to see if they are willing to send me product(s) for an unbiased review. I want to thank Anna for her willingness to send me a few of the great nut and seed butters that Dastony sells.

I was so anxious to try out the butters and could not wait till the package arrived at my door. It was well worth the wait and then some. I do not think that I will ever want to eat any other nut or seed butters ever again! Once you taste the best artisan-made products (regardless of the cost), it is very difficult to eat another brand. It is the same as if you are a farmer or work at a farmers market (I do work for an organic produce farmer who has the highest quality, tastiest and unique greens and other produce – if you are interested in knowing more about him and if you live in San Diego, you can buy his produce at various markets or through his CSA – go to http://www.sagemountainfarm.com) and eat the freshest food, it is not the same to “buy” your produce, even at a health food store. Dastony uses an “old world” method for processing and offer unique products to their customers. It is worth every penny you will spend to buy them! I was also happy to find out from Anna that the facility handles only their raw tree nuts and seeds and does not process soy or dairy. Also the nuts and seeds are truly raw, as they source out the best products, especially now that raw almonds that are grown in USA are pasteurized.

I received two of their 8 oz butters: Sprouted Pumpkin Seed and Sprouted Sunflower Seed Butter (plastic containers are never used, all of the products come in glass jars). They also offer Sprouted Almond and Sprouted Sesame Seed Butter (Tahini). The difference with sprouted nuts and seeds, it that the germination allows it to be digested more easily in your body and it is considered “living food.” In order to do this, the seeds/nuts are first soaked, at least overnight and they allowed to germinate or even begin to sprout, where you see a “shoot” coming out of one end of the seed/nut. Afterwards, the seeds/nuts are dehydrated at low temperature below 118 degrees to remain raw and enzyme-rich.

The process that Dastony uses to make the butters is explained above and called “stone-ground” and was used in ancient times to make olive oil. It creates the smoothest, creamiest nut and seed butters I have ever tasted. The flavor is like nothing I have ever had before and I am sure if I did a side-by-side taste test with other companies who make nut and seed butters, they would not “hold a candle” to these products! Of course, not many are using this “old world” process as they do not want to take the time or make the effort to offer the best product to the public. They simply want the “machine” to crank out more products, so they can make more money and then, as the expression goes, “you get what you pay for.” This holds true, for sure with Dastony! The prices they charge for what you get is really “cheap” relative to the quality. I ask, please, Dastony, do not mark up the price because I think it is too low, because you still want it to be relatively affordable to the consumers and I do not want to get negative comments from people who say it is my fault that the price went up.

The other products I received (not sprouted) are a 1 oz sample jar of: Almond Butter, Cashew Butter and Coconut Butter. The cashew and coconut butters are also certified kosher by Earth Kosher. They do not sell this size to the public, but are offered in 8 and 16 oz sizes. Besides the varieties I sampled, they also offer:
Brazil Nut, Hempseed, Sesame Seed (Tahini) and Hazelnut Butters. Each butter has its own unique flavor profile, and the 3 mentioned here, to me, have a sweeter flavor and I really enjoy using them to spread on a cracker, add to a soup, smoothie, to make a nut/seed milk, sauce, dressing, dessert, etc. They are such versatile products. The possibilities are endless and is as infinite as the mind can think of! I also like to dip my yummy tri-color carrots or celery into the nut/seed butters. Sone like to split a date in half and spread some butters in there. Please note that double-dipping is not recommended and here is why: Our mouths are the dirtiest places around and if the mix of germs and bacteria present in our mouth get into a jar it can cause mold and rot. This holds true with any food in your fridge!

I know that in the future, I will be purchasing my nut and seed butters from Dastony and enjoying the love and care that goes into each of their products.

Disclaimer: I was not sponsored to write this, but I did receive a sample of the product(s). These are strictly my opinions. I only review products that I, myself would use and purchase.

I am also including some photos from the product packaging that tells you more about the product and the benefits mentioned.

Check out my video review, as well where I taste these great products: http://www.youtube.com/TheRawsomeVeganGal

To find out more about this company, their products and where to purchase, go to: http://www.dastony.com

Dastony Nut and Seed Butters -100% Raw, Organic and Stone Ground

Dastony Nut and Seed Butters -100% Raw, Organic and Stone Ground

Dastony Seed and Nuts Butters - 100% Raw, Organic & Stoneground

Dastony Seed and Nuts Butters – 100% Raw, Organic & Stoneground

More detailed information on the jar of Pumpkin Seed Butter about the process of stone-grinding

More detailed information on the jar of Pumpkin Seed Butter about the process of stone-grinding

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Company Review: Farmhouse Culture – Fine Fermented Foods

Farmhouse Culture Raw, Organic and Fresh refrigerated fermented Krauts and Kimchis in business since 2009

Tagline from their website: “We make the best darn kraut on the planet by infusing regional organic ingredients with wildly imaginative flavor profile.”

At the Natural Product Expo in Anaheim, CA I always find great new products to share with my readers and this company is definitely one of them. There are so many things to see and there is not enough time to see it all. I am glad I found this one. I love sauerkraut/fermented foods because it is yummy and also is great for your “gut” health. Our intestinal flora needs to be continually renewed and cultured food is a way to do it right! I would rather eat food then take a pill. It also helps if you are dealing with any issues of gluten/celiac (which we probably all have, even if we do not get tested) because it has to do with inflammation in the colon and high quality fermented foods help a lot!

When I tasted the krauts from Farmhouse Culture, I wanted more. They are so good and the flavors are so unique. Even more then that, is their packaging. It is not in a jar, as with most companies, they actually use a pouch that does not leach harmful chemicals (no BPA’s, PVC plasticizers or phthalates). It is commonly used in Europe and this company is the first to use it. What makes it special is the patented Ferment-O-Vent which releases the buildup of pressure without harmful bacteria entering and allows the healthful micro-organisms room to grow. Also, the pouch gas a lower carbon footprint and takes less energy to produce and transport then glass.

My Review

Overall impression: Love the colorful packaging/stand-up pouches with the peek-a-boo windows to see what is inside. All the products are great! It depends on your taste buds and how much “heat” you can handle whether you would try/like the spicier krauts and kimchi. I live the unique flavors/ingredients used as it perks up/excites your palate!

Krauts

1- Garlic Dill Pickle

This is my all time favorite! #1 for me! It reminds me of Gus Pickles, a company on the Lower East Side of NY where I used to go as a child with my Dad and siblings to get fresh pickles out of the barrels. This is better because it is organic, too. It is so good, I could eat the whole bag. I also love dill and the flavor is great! This is another really good one if you do not want a spicy kraut.

2- Ginger Beet

This is my 2nd favorite! I love the color of this product. It is also high in Vitamin C. Be careful because it may stain you since it has the red color from the beets. Since it is fermented, it actually smells like cooked beets. It also has ginger, which is warming to the body and has medicinal benefits. This flavor is very good and it not too strong for me to handle like the chili and jalepeño in the other products.

3- Classic Caraway

This is my 3rd favorite! This is really good with only a few ingredients. It is simply delicious. For those of you who do not want a spicy sauerkraut, this is a great option. They carry it in a larger pouch, 22 oz size, as it is probably one of the most popular and perhaps was their first product sold.

4- Horseradish Leek

This is my 4th favorite! High in Vitamin C and A. I am familiar with horseradish, as I eat it on Passover, called “marror” or bitter herbs. I like this flavor and it does not taste bitter to me. It has a slight “bite” and not overly strong where I can not eat it.

5- Smoked Jalapeño

This is my 5th favorite! High in Vitamin C. It has daikon radish which is a very good food for the body. It is known to “cut the fat” when eating fatty/oily animal foods – you would grate it finely and eat with your meal. It is also used medicinally – the greens are dried for a hip bath for feminine issues, the radish is also sun-dried and used in cooking. This flavor was spicy for me – hot! It is tasty and flavorful and has a nice crunch. After a short while I got used to it and wasn’t too hot for me.

Kimchi

Spicy Wakame Ginger

This is my 6th favorite! it is high in Vitamin C. It has wakame seaweed which is used in Japanese culture, mostly in miso soup and helps get rid of heavy metal toxicity in the body and high in minerals. It also has ginger which is warming and medicinal to the body. This one was Very Hot for me! The chili powder is more powerful in the heat index then is jalepeño, in my opinion. It is super intense and still is good. The way I can handle it, is by eating a little hit at a time.

Farmhouse Culture - Fine Fermented Foods

Farmhouse Culture – Fine Fermented Foods

Farmhouse Culture - Raw, Organic  Krauts and Kimchi

Farmhouse Culture – Raw, Organic Krauts and Kimchi

To check out more about this great company, their awesome products and where to buy them, go to: http://www.farmhouseculture.com

Also check out my youtube channel for a video review of all these products that I do a tasting of: http://www.youtube.com/TheRawsomeVeganGal

Disclaimer: I was not sponsored to write this, but I did receive a sample of the product(s). These are strictly my opinions. I only review products that I, myself would use and purchase.

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