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A group of long-time growers of Mexican produce will sell their products through a new marketing entity called Eleven Rivers Growers, which will make its debut at the Produce Marketing Association's Fresh Summit convention in Orlando, FL.

Eleven Rivers Growers will sell fruits and vegetables grown in the Sinaloa region of Mexico by 18 growers, who will be required to meet strict criteria in order to ship their products under the "Certified: Fresh & Reliable" brand. The five “pillars” of the brand are food safety, traceability, social responsibility, ecological responsibility and quality.

According to a statement issued Oct. 12 by Eleven Rivers Growers, the participating growers account for 20 percent of the winter fruits and vegetables consumed in the United States. The group will oversee the entire production process and will conduct rigorous inspections before allowing products to be shipped under the brand. The individual companies will continue to operate under their own names.

“Eleven Rivers Growers is proud to introduce this new category in produce, raising the bar in food safety and providing a world-class system for traceability,” Fernando A. Mariscal, brand representative for Eleven Rivers Growers, said in the statement. “Our certified fresh and reliable fruits and vegetables present a third option to consumers in the produce aisle — one that does not compromise taste, price or quality.”

Eleven Rivers Growers said that it will offer product traceability from harvest through final delivery of every box. Growers carefully oversee their crops from seeding to harvest, using the latest technology such as photographic imaging. The growers who supply produce under the Eleven Rivers Growers name must comply with strict regulations or risk losing brand certification. The best- practice growing methods are reviewed on a weekly basis, and guarantee a high level of consistency.

Eleven Rivers’ produce will be distributed throughout the United States beginning in December. Among the products to be shipped are tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplant, green beans, peppers, squash and watermelon. The organization said that it is still undergoing its incorporation process and that the management group will be defined at a general assembly to be held at the end of November.