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Eats Yer Spinach

Everybody knows Popeye is strong to the finish ´cause he eats his spinach. Now a Salinas spinach processor is hoping the cartoon Sailor Man can put some muscle in sales of the much-maligned vegetable.

Yesterday, River Ranch Fresh Foods signed a 20-year licensing agreement with King Feature Syndicate to use Popeye and his cartoon friends to peddle its product.

For eight years, River Ranch has marketed Popeye-brand spinach salads in the U.S. and Canada. The company says its 10-ounce flat-leaf spinach is America´s best-selling spinach item.

The new agreement gives River Ranch more flexibility to harness Popeye´s spinach-selling powers and to use Popeye pals like Olive Oyl and Wimpy in ads and packaging.