(June 24) SALINAS, Calif. — The partnership between River Ranch Fresh Foods LLC and the Popeye family of characters has been extended.

River Ranch in early June signed a 20-year agreement with King Features Syndicate for the exclusive right to sell Popeye branded fresh salads and vegetable items throughout the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

River Ranch has marketed Popeye brand spinach salads in the U.S. and Canada. The product line, sold in retail and foodservice outlets, includes the country’s top-selling flat leaf spinach, a 10-ounce bag of Popeye Field Select spinach.

The product line also includes Field Select spinach in larger sizes, stemless spinach, baby spinach and a spinach bacon kit. Two spinach blends — Venetian, an Italian blend with baby spinach, and Spinach Riviera, a butter lettuce and radicchio blend with baby spinach — round out the line.

The Popeye brand now is available in Mexico and the southwest U.S. through a sublicense agreement. Mike Gillespie, vice president of sales and marketing, said the new contract with King Features gives River Ranch more options for sublicensing.

“We will be actively looking for new U.S. partners to move the brand into additional produce segments,” Gillespie said. “We want to leverage the entire Popeye family of characters, including Olive Oyl and Wimpy.”

The signing of the agreement with King Features took place less than a day after River Ranch completed a management-led buyout from its former parent company, The Albert Fisher Group PLC.

Jim Lucas, chief executive officer of River Ranch, said the new 20-year contract demonstrates King Features’ confidence in the reorganized salad and fresh-cut vegetable company.