Joe Carcione, 73; Was Tv's 'Green Grocer'

Posted: August 03, 1988

Joe Carcione, 73, "the Green Grocer" to thousands of television viewers, died yesterday at a hospital outside San Francisco after a bout with cancer.

Mr. Carcione, whose syndicated television segment aired locally on WPVI-TV (Channel 6) during the noon and 5 p.m. news, died at 4:15 p.m., said a spokeswoman at Peninsula Hospital in Burlingame, Calif.

David Prohaska, senior producer at the station, said Mr. Carcione had been hospitalized several times in his battle against cancer.

Against a backdrop of produce, Mr. Carcione, in his characteristic gravelly voice, advised consumers about how to choose the tastiest fruits and vegetables - and about which ones to avoid.

He displayed examples of his fruit or vegetable of the day as part of the consumer lesson. In the popular segment, Mr. Carcione gave viewers their "tip for the day" and also explained ways to prepare the food.

Prohaska said the segments were broadcast on about 80 stations around the country.

Although the show was not regularly filmed in the Philadelphia area, Mr. Carcione had been to Philadelphia to visit WPVI several times and filmed a number of shows at the Italian Market.

A week's worth of Mr. Carcione's reports were taped at one time and sent to television stations, Prohaska said. He said he did not expect the station to air the remainder of the week's Green Grocer segments.

"He actually was a green grocer," Prohaska said. "He's worked in a grocery store his whole life."

He still owned and operated Joe Carcione's Best Produce Co. in San Francisco, Prohaska said, but the business was most recently run primarily by his son, Peter.

Mr. Carcione's interest in produce began when he worked in his father's grocery as a boy. He grew up to be an expert who shared his knowlege with millions of viewers around the country.

Mr. Carcione, a native of North Beach, Calif., wrote two books, The Green Grocer: A Consumer's Guide to Fresh Fruits and Vegetables (1972) and The Joe Carcione Green Grocer Cookbook (1975). He also wrote a column for the San Francisco Chronicle.

Mr. Carcione began his television career at KRON in San Francisco in 1974. He was a hit, and several months later he was syndicated, Prohaska said.

Prohaska said he was not sure where Mr. Carcione got the name "Green Grocer," but he was already using it in 1967 when he started a radio call-in show in San Francisco.

Mr. Carcione is survived by his wife, Madeline; a daughter, Barbara, and two sons, Peter and Joe Jr.

Funeral arrangements were incomplete last night.

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