(May 8) Borton & Sons Inc., Yakima, Wash., has entered into a licensing agreement with Nickelodeon to use images from five of the network’s shows on its fruit packages.

The agreement gives the company permission to use images from “Dora the Explorer,” “SpongeBob SquarePants,” “LazyTown,” “The Backyardigans,” and “Avatar: The Last Airbender” in its marketing programs, said Mindy VanVleck, Borton’s assistant director of sales and marketing.

Borton plans to ship apples and pears with Nickelodeon characters on packaging in September, she said. Cherries are expected to be packaged in character-adorned bags in June 2007.

Jonathan Finn, vice president of communications for Nickelodeon & Viacom Consumer Products, New York, and VanVleck declined to release projected volumes, retail prices and packaging specifics.

Finn said Nickelodeon plans to work with Borton to develop packaging.

VanVleck said the agreement is good for both companies because it could help get children to eat more fresh fruit, which complements Nickelodeon’s strategy of promoting healthful choices among its viewers.

One of the shows, “LazyTown,” was created to encourage children to be more physically active, according to the Nick Jr. Web site.

VanVleck said there may be a possibility for cross-promotions on Nickelodeon products, but that idea is only in its initial phase.

Nickelodeon characters have been used to market other fresh produce.

“Last year, we introduced licensed carrots, spinach and clementines,” Finn said. “And this year we are proud to be bringing even more healthy products to grocers coast to coast.”