Episode 118: Suzette Overgaag
Attempting to be a sustainable and healthy household is difficult when items like fresh herbs go bad in just a day or two after buying them. Wouldn’t it be nice to have living, fresh and beautiful herbs that made any meal an occasion, without being rushed to use them?
Suzette Overgaag and her third generation greenhouse grower husband, Leo, started their family farm in Coachella Valley thirty years ago with a barely-there budget and borrowed farming equipment. Today, they have over 10 acres of greenhouse space where they hydroponically grow living herbs that are available for consumers in the produce section of the grocery store.
It all started when the Overgaag’s were growing English cucumbers, but Suzette was frustrated that, when buying cut herbs from the store, they’d wilt or turn brown in just a few days. She dreamed of having an instant herb garden in her kitchen every day, which is exactly what North Shore Living Herbs does for you. They sell their clamshell “mini greenhouse” herbs and potted living herbs that, contrary to popular belief, aren’t meant to be planted, but offer a longer “shelf life”. That way, you can have a beautiful bouquet of herbs sitting on your counter and plan meals weeks in advance without worrying about your herbs going bad.
Sustainability was one of the core driving factors of North Shore Living Herbs’ living herbs coming to life (no pun intended), which is why they are the first culinary herb grower in the United States to be certified as a sustainable grower by a recognized third party. They use solar energy and geothermal energy to heat the greenhouse and implement different practices that are good for employees. For example, instead of having employees bend over every day, most of the work is done at waist level, so it’s less wear and tear on the individuals as well as the environment.
North Shore Living Herbs is also the first hydroponic grower to be certified organic and they’ve found solutions to save anywhere between 75% to 90% of water with their crops compared to a cut herb program. It’s important to note they’ve been committed to this focus on sustainability well before it was popular and trendy with consumers. It’s a movement built to last.
North Shore Living Herbs’ mission is to make every home cooked meal a special occasion, something that COVID-19 has actually helped consumers around the U.S. start to focus on.
With the limited options now for eating out or dining in restaurants, more and more households are thinking about how they can make meals a special occasion. We’re cooking together more, eating together more, and not only is that great for North Shore Living Herbs’ business, but it helps drive their mission further across the country.
The wonderful thing about herbs is, even if you aren’t familiar with using them, you can’t go wrong adding them! Suzette doesn’t use recipes at all and uses whatever she has on hand in whatever amount feels right (you don’t have to measure them).
“My favorite thing is actually just using them in salads and herb butter.” – Suzette Overgaag (15:15-15:20)
Put your herbs in a butter and pour over pasta or a delicious grilled steak. Suzette also suggests putting them in cocktails or adding cucumber, mint and lemon to your regular water. You can find tons of amazing recipes created by Suzette’s daughter on their website, as well as details about all the products they offer and where you can find them locally! Visit www.northshore.farms and learn how you can start adding fresh herbs to your home cooked meals and make them a part of any occasion.
How to get involved
- Join The Produce Moms Group on Facebook and continue the discussion every week!
- Reach out to us – we’d love to hear more about where you are in life and business! Find out more here.
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Previous episodes you may enjoy
- Episode 117: The Abundance Of Hawaii Creates A New Industry With Bella Hughes, Co-founder and President of Shaka Tea
- Episode 116: National Fruits And Veggie Month With Wendy Reinhardt Kapsak, President and CEO of the Produce For Better Health Foundation
- Episode 115: Sustainable Medical Grade Sanitization With Best in Class UV-C Light Experts Tim Busby, Cofounder and Managing Partner and Kurt Wagaman, General Manager of PurLite
- Episode 114: Creating The Future Health Of Our Country Through School Meals With Adam Russo, Director of School Food and Nutrition Services at Prince William County Public Schools and Mollie Van Lieu, Senior Director of Nutrition Policy at United Fresh Produce Association
- Episode 113: Never Let Fear Stop You With Sarah Frey, CEO of Frey Farms, Founder of Tsamma™ Watermelon Juice and Sarah’s Home Grown, and United Fresh Women In Produce’s 2020 Honoree