Phil Colson, founder of green bean grower-shipper C&E Farms Inc., Cheriton, Va., has died.

Colson, 76, died at his winter home at Marco Island, Fla., on Feb. 14 after losing a battle with emphysema, according to family members.

Considered an industry innovator, Colson was known for pioneering the hydrocooling of green beans and setting industry standards.

The Eastern Shore operation grew, packed and shipped other vegetables including tomatoes, potatoes and bell peppers for fresh and processed buyers.

In 1986, Colson started C&E Farms with business partner Lester Erlemeier.

With the support of his wife, Dorotha “Dot” Colson, Phil Colson helped introduce new bean varieties including the Bronco-type dark green bean which is considered the consumers’ bean type of choice, according to the company.

Colson is survived by his wife, sons Bob Colson and Mark Colson, two daughters, five grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Bob Colson is company president while Mark Colson is operations manager.

The family suggests memorial contributions to Cape Charles Christian School, 237 Tazewell Ave., Suite 3, Cape Charles, Va., 23310 or Hospice Palliative Care of the Eastern Shore, 165 Market Street, Onancock, Va., 23417.

By the time he retired in 2005, C&E Farms was running processing plants in Virginia and Florida and processing more than 750,000 bushels of green beans from 5,000 acres, according to the company.