Business group honors Mann Packing, Tanimura & AntleSALINAS, Calif. — Mann Packing Co., Gary Tanimura and Bob Antle were honored by the Salinas Valley Chamber of Commerce at its annual awards luncheon.

Mann Packing was named large business of the year by the chamber. The grower-shipper is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year.

“We’re proud to call Salinas home,” said Lorri Koster, Mann’s chairwoman and chief executive officer. “We’re even more proud of the many generations of this valley and community that have contributed to our success over 75 years.”

Koster thanked a list of mentors including her late father, Don Nucci, and his Mann Packing partner Bill Ramsey, who attended; and grower Tony Costa.

The company was founded in 1939 by H.W. Mann — better known as Cy Mann — as a carrot packing operation. It soon became better known for broccoli. Related product introductions over the years included Broccoli Wokly (foodservice 1981, retail 1990); broccoli coleslaw (1991); and Broccomole (1996).

But at the awards lunch Feb. 27, a video featuring director of healthy culinary innovation Gina Nucci — in character as Gina Broccolini — called attention to Mann’s other products.

“We actually grow more romaine than broccoli,” she said.

Gary Tanimura and Bob Antle of Tanimura & Antle, shared the chamber’s agricultural leadership award. Tanimura is executive vice president and Antle is board co-chairman.

“Our family and the Antle family go back to 1949, when Bob’s dad Bud (Antle) bought the first lettuce from our family’s 4-1/2 acre plot in Aromas,” Tanimura said. “Ever since Bud and Bob were always happy with our product, so in the early 1950s we formed a partnership. It’s been a tremendous ride since then. We formed Tanimura & Antle in 1982.”

“Bob and Gary are key leaders in the company and are recognized for being at the forefront of agriculture,” said Kurt Gollnick, chief operating officer for Scheid Vineyards. “The Tanimuras and Antles have participated in and led virtually every important industry or community organization in Monterey County, including the Grower-Shipper Association (of Central California), Farm Bureau, the Hartnell College Foundation and the Community Foundation (for Monterey County).”