Hollandia Produce LP
The Overgaag family has been in agriculture for four generations. Their roots trace back to 1927, when the family began building a strong business in Holland growing flowers in greenhouses. Two generations later, in 1970, Art and Magda Overgaag continued the family farming tradition on California’s Central Coast, establishing a small, greenhouse floral business with their four children.
Over the next decade, business flourished, until market forces dictated a restructure. As a result, the company transitioned into growing tomatoes and cucumbers hydroponically and formally established Hollandia Produce (Hollandia). In 1997, as business continued evolving, Hollandia again shifted focus and began growing its currents flagship products: living lettuce and cress.
Today, CEO Pete Overgaag, Art and Magda’s youngest son, leads operations at both its Carpinteria and Oxnard, California facilities. Hollandia’s team of approximately 75 employees strives to produce healthy, high-quality lettuce and leafy greens that are sold predominately throughout the western United States.
Strong product lines
Hollandia grows all of its produce in-house and ships to customers large and small throughout the region under its own brands and several private labels. “Our market is focused primarily on retailers, wholesalers, distributors, food service operators and chefs in the United States,” explains Pete. “We also private label our products for select national retail chains.
Hollandia’s conventional brand Live Gourmet includes living: butter, red butter, and 3-n-1 lettuce and upland cress, while its certified organic brand Grower Pete’s offers living butter lettuce and watercress. “Our Grower Pete’s line is part of what differentiates us,” explains Pete. “There are not many growers that offer hydroponically grown organic produce.
“We offer unique, niche products both in the way they’re grown and types of greens we cultivate,” he elaborates. “At the local level, there are small producers popping up across the country who use hydroponic methods to sell similar greens. However, we don’t really view them as competitors. Instead, they’re helping us raise awareness for the category and potentially introduce new customers to our types of produce.”
Facing unique challenges
Although lettuce is a commodity category, Hollandia’s living lettuce and cress products are considered value-added. This attribute, combined with the company’s ability to control costs and maximize the efficiencies of its greenhouse layout, automation and shipping systems have been key factors in Hollandia’s competitive stance. “The produce market continues to undergo changes, including retail acquisitions, consolidations and shifting personnel,” Pete observes. “Despite all of this, we’ve been able to grow our business and weather these storms.”
Currently, Hollandia is going strong, with numbers on the rise and its new Oxnard facility expansion project underway to accommodate recent growth. “Of course we’re pleased to pay our bills and reinvest in our company,” Pete explains. “But we also base success on other factors. We want our employees to enjoy coming to work. We want our customers and consumers to rave about our products. And, we want to grow, because we believe, if we’re not moving forward, we’re moving backward.”
And moving forward they are. Hollandia continues to operate based on its strong company values of excellence, efficiency, respect, safety, growth and a positive environment. “By adhering daily to our values, we believe we’ll continue to drive competitively superior products and services,” Pete says proudly. “We challenge our customers and prospects to always ‘Expect More!’ These two are more than a tagline. They embody our values and commitment to exceptional customer satisfaction, stable pricing, year-round availability, unmatched product uniformity and quality, and extensive third-party validation and certification.”
Pete and his family have planted the seed of a strong company. Hollandia Produce L.P. will continue to flourish in the coming years by providing value through high-quality products and dedicated service.