L&M Cos. Inc., Raleigh, N.C., is expanding its Disney Garden organics program this year and has developed a tote bag for retail to promote organic apples.

The bags are made out of kraft paper, while most totes are poly, said Andy Tudor, sales manager in the Selah, Wash., office. Tudor expects to officially launch the bags with the new apple crop this summer but has them available to start earlier. L&M is still packing galas and fujis.

“The character for the organic category is Winnie the Pooh and, as far as the message, it’s consistent with the rest of the Disney Garden packaging,” Tudor said. “The goal is to get kids to eat more fresh veggies and fruits.”

The bags have an activity on the side, and a reference to Disney’s Healthy Kids Web site, www.disney.go.com/healthykids.

Tudor said L&M usually sends the bags pre-filled, but can also attach them separately with an order.

L&M’s organic cherry and stone fruit should start this June, Tudor said. The company packs cherries, apricots, yellow- and white-flesh peaches and yellow- and white-flesh nectarines.

“This year, we should go through late September with our stone fruit,” Tudor said. “When a lot of retailers are in the habit of resetting around Labor Day, there will still be a good supply of organic stone fruit from Washington.”

By July, the company should have an expanded personal watermelon program ready to launch.

“Last year we got a proprietary seed, did the test acreage, and the melons were fantastic,” Tudor said. “We had acreage last year to work with some local and regional retailers, and this year we’ll have volumes to work with a few national retailers.”

The melons, called Little Deuce Coupe, should be available July 4 through September.