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J&C Tropicals, based in Miami, is joining forces with Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Alvarez, the Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners and Publix Super Markets to launch a new produce brand, "Redland Raised."

The new brand was to be officially announced Oct. 29 at the Publix Super Market at the Tropicaire Shopping Center in Miami. At the announcement, J&C was to feature its signature boniato.

"J&C Tropicals is honored by the invitation to present its boniato as a participating produce item under the 'Redland Raised' brand," Jessie Capote, vice president of operations for J&C Tropicals, told The Produce News. "J&C is the largest producer of boniato in the U.S. It is a traditional staple item among the Hispanic population, and its popularity among mainstream consumers from all backgrounds is steadily increasing."

Mr. Capote's presentation at the launch was to include nutritional details, uses, handling tips and historic insight about boniato. Also planned were presentations by several other Florida producers. In addition to boniato, green beans, yellow squash, zucchini, okra and avocados were to be featured. Created by Miami-Dade County and in conjunction with the Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services, "Redland Raised" was developed to promote the consumption of fresh local produce.

Publix Super Markets will promote the brand in more than 1,000 of its retail locations. The new brand is a collaboration project with the "Fresh From Florida" brand, the state's highly recognized locally grown initiative.

In an Oct. 22 press release issued by Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners, Mayor Carlos Alvarez was quoted as saying, "Pairing Publix with our locally grown produce makes great sense. We can educate and encourage our residents to invest in local produce and, in turn, stimulate the economy in our county."

The press release included a statement by Kim Jaeger, media and community relations manager for Publix Super Markets in Miami, who said, "While we have always been committed to supporting fresh locally grown produce when available, we are excited to help introduce this new produce brand, which will allow us to better inform our customers on the benefits of buying local."

"Buying local is not a trend or a movement, it's a lifestyle," said Mr. Capote. "It helps to support local communities and their producers. J&C Tropicals is proud to be an avid supporter of the program."

Miami-Dade County's agriculture industry is second in the state and 18th in the country, generating an estimated $2.7 billion for the local economy. J&C Tropicals is a major grower and distributor of a wide range of tropical and ethnic fruits and vegetables. Its products are distributed across the United States and into Canada.