Chuck Robinson,
Media Watch
Chuck Robinson, Media Watch

Gina Broccolini, I love you. There, it’s out there. It may be a bit pathetic at my advanced age to have a crush on a televison news reporter, but I have.

Broccolini is the anchor of a fictitious newscast produced by Salinas, Calif.-based Mann Packing. Her news segment, “Inside the Valley,” announces Mann Packing’s new vegetable tray. It also pokes fun at its older product, which had a black lid intended for serving.

According to research reported in the fake newscast, it was used for anything but, including as an aid to exercising, a paint palette, a fly swatter or a desk organizer.

The video was published on YouTube on May 14. It also played at the grower-shipper’s United Fresh booth. 

When not on the news set, Broccolini goes by the name of Gina Nucci, director of healthy culinary innovation for Mann Packing.

Her newscaster name connotes one of Mann Packing’s signature products. She and her crew looked like they had fun with the broadcast, and they got the point across that the new design of their vegetable tray cut the company’s plastic use by 2 million pounds annually by getting rid of the black plastic tray.

She told The Packer’s Mike Hornick there isn’t a lot of humor in produce marketing, and she may have a point.

You know, this fake news broadcast brings to mind a favorite publication of mine that I haven’t seen since late 2007: The Sunripe Gazette.

The Gazette dubbed itself “The Totally Biased, Non-Objective Newspaper of the Produce Industry.”

That publication was produced by Palmetto, Fla.-based Pacific Tomato Growers Ltd., which markets under the Sunripe brand. The Sunripe Gazette’s layout used some features similar to The Packer’s design at the time.

However, their crew wrote a lot funnier headlines than we do at The Packer, I think, but you be the judge:


  • “Senate passes gas, farm bills;”
  • “Rachael Ray throws sieve at Giada, relationship strained;” and
  • “Cheney pooh-poohs Kyoto Accord, prefers U.S. cars.”


Of course, ads for the Sunripe family of companies also filled the publication as did vintage-looking ads, such as one for a book titled “Tales of French Love and Passion” and another telling us “Be an Artist — Earn $10 to $50 a month.”

There also were campy classified ads. One classified ad from 2002, the earliest issue of The Sunripe Gazette I found in our archives, read, “Ledgers and more — Hundreds of accounting ledgers, slightly used. Green-billed visors, nibs, ink pots. Deposition guides. Fifth Amendment wallet cards ... No collect calls, please.”

Also that year, a headline told us Tiger Woods failed to make the cut at the Sunripe Golf Tournament.

Yes, I miss The Sunripe Gazette.

These fun projects must have been a kick to produce and helped energize the staffs producing them. Those are two great bonuses in addition to memorably delivering a message.

To steal a catch line from newscaster Broccolini, “Stay classy, produce people,” but let’s still have fun.

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