Kazuo Ikeda, president of Ikeda Bros. and a cofounder of the Pismo Oceano Vegetable Exchange, died Feb. 11 in Arroyo Grande, Calif., at 94.
The Japanese-American grower and his brothers Seirin and Saburo returned to the coastal region to form the company after spending time in an internment camp during World War II. Kazuo Ikeda, better known as Kaz, was president of Ikeda Bros. from 1955 until his death.
“My dad definitely slowed down in his 90s, but was still very active touring the different ranches daily,” said Vard Ikeda, the grower’s son. He was named for Vard Loomis, whose family watched over the Ikeda property and equipment during the internment.
Ikeda Bros. produces napa cabbage, bok choy, lettuce, broccoli, celery, bell peppers and other items.
Ikeda is survived by his wife Mitzi and four children — Julie Nishioka, Stan Ikeda, Patricia Kawaguchi and Vard Ikeda. Other survivors include 10 grandchildren.
Services were held Feb. 16. Memorial donations can be made to the Arroyo Grande Eagle Athletic Foundation and the Mustang Athletic Fund at Cal Poly University, San Luis Obispo. Ikeda was a baseball enthusiast and former player who became a coach and one of the founders of the Arroyo Grande Babe Ruth League. Several fields nearby are named for him.
Ikeda’s father, Juzo Ikeda, was the first in the family to farm in the area, Vard Ikeda said. Vard Ikeda’s son, Brycen, marks a fourth generation.