(March 7) SALINAS, Calif. — There may not be a commodity board seeking to raise consumer awareness of brussels sprouts, but Steve Koran thinks a partnership between Growers Express and Green Giant can help remind consumers how tasty and convenient the round, green vegetable is.

“Brussels sprouts seem to be undersold in a lot of produce departments,” Koran said. “We think that the Green Giant label and the convenient pack can help change that.”

This winter, Growers Express began marketing brussels sprouts in 1-pound clamshells under the Green Giant label nationwide.

Beginning slowly at the end of January and building week by week into March, Growers Express has seen interest — and sales — grow each week, said Koran, director of sales for Growers Express.

Traditionally, consumer interest in brussels sprouts has been during the winter, but Growers Express plans a year-round program, Koran said. From November until June, Growers Express will grow the crop in Mexico. The rest of the time it will grow in California, particularly around coastal areas such as Santa Cruz.

Growers Express started a brussels sprouts production program this winter, beginning with 25-pound bulk boxes sold under the Western Express label.

But Koran said the 1-pound clamshells under the Green Giant label should provide consumers everything they need to try brussels sprouts, from a handy, convenient container, to a good quantity to a trusted national brand to directions on how to prepare them.

Growers Express sells the Green Giant brussels sprouts in cartons of 12 1-pound clamshells.

“Clamshells are really taking off in a variety of commodities,” Koran said. “They seem to work really well for brussels sprouts.”

Sales seem to be strongest in the Midwest and in the Southeast, where snowbirds tend to congregate, Koran said. But Growers Express hopes to convince consumers nationwide that brussels sprouts can be another way to reach their 5 a Day.

“It’s a unique flavor,” Koran said. “It’s similar to asparagus. It used to be that people just boiled or steamed them, but there are a lot more ways to cook it.”

The label on the clamshells, besides featuring the Green Giant logo and nutrition information, offers explanations of three ways to prepare brussels sprouts. The next generation of labels might feature recipes as well, Koran said.