North Shore Greenhouses has a solution for the shoppers tired of wilted and wasted herbs.
Leo and Suzette Overgaag started farming in 1987, after moving to the Coachella Valley to raise their children and grow long English cucumbers. Years later, the couple transitioned their operation from a commodity crop to herbs, and soon found a niche in the fresh herb business.
The Overgaag’s vision delivers fresh, growing herbs to consumers. To make this a reality, they had to find the right technology, people and techniques to harvest and prepare the herbs for shipment within a single day.
“We don’t pack anything ahead of time,” Leo said. “So, today we get all our orders, and they are harvested and packed, they will be packed onto our truck this afternoon, and our drivers will typically leave around midnight to 1 a.m. to make deliveries tomorrow morning.”
Efficiency and sustainability are driving forces for their business. Nick Sullivan, director of research and development at North Shore Greenhouses, focuses on implementing systems that help the business grow and deliver herbs as efficiently as possible.
“Using renewable energy and our low use of land together, those combined allow us to deliver the best product we can,” Nick said.
Two Sides of Sustainability
Conserving water and energy and limiting waste are key focus areas for North Shore Greenhouses.
Over the years, the operation has invested in solar panels, taken steps to conserve water with hydroponic growing practices and become the first culinary herb grower in the U.S. to earn a designation as sustainable by a third-party certifier.
The greenhouse operation also has invested in creating a sustainable business model that keeps longtime employees engaged and putting down roots in the community.
“We approach sustainability from two sides,” Nick said. “Sustainable employment and sustainable production practices.”
The Farm Credit Difference
According to Christopher Robertson, vice president relationship manager at American AgCredit, they are committed to financing North Shore Greenhouses long term.
“They know that we're not going to be in and out of financing agriculture. We're going to be there with them for the long haul,” he said.
At the end of the day, Leo and Suzette are motivated to continue to provide products that their consumers love.
“I'm very proud of the product that we have,” Suzette said. “We're so lucky to have this available to us.”