(July 28) LOS ANGELES — A.M.S. Exotic LLC has introduced a line of premium, packaged baby vegetables nationwide, said Scott Lehmann, director of sales and marketing.

Earth Exotic Premium Vegetables had been test marketed since October 2004 with selected retailers in the Southwest, Northwest and Northeast, Lehmann said. He said the success of the testing spurred A.M.S. Exotic to redesign the packaging and offer the line to retailers and foodservice firms nationwide.

Lehmann said he expects to sell 500,000 cases in 2006. Whole Foods and some divisions of Kroger and Safeway are stocking the Earth Exotic line, he said.

Lehmann said the vegetables are hand-packed in 8-ounce packages. Retail prices range from $2.99 in the West to $3.99 in the East, he said.

The baby vegetables include asparagus tips and zucchini squash, Lehmann said. The line is unique, he said, because the vegetables are triple-washed, ready to use and come in bags manufactured in France exclusively for A.M.S Exotic. Lehmann said the bags give the product a 12-14 day shelf life.