(June 20) Mike Mizokami, founder of the SunFed label of Mexican fruits and vegetables, has died. He was 89.

Mizokami, a native of La Junta, Colo., and a resident of Chandler, Ariz., died June 12.

After graduating from Oklahoma A&M University, Mizokami became a vegetable grower in Blanca, Colo., where he founded the SunFed label in 1951, said Danny Mandel, owner and chief executive officer of Nogales, Ariz.-based SunFed.

In the mid-1950s he began growing in the Los Mochis, Sinaloa region of Mexico, and he later founded Nogales-based Mizokami Bros. of Arizona.

Mizokami retired in the early 1980s. In 1993, Mandel and Mizokami’s son Warren founded SunFed.

Mandel said Mizokami achieved yields and a level of quality and consistency in Mexico that no grower before him had.

He could do things no other Mexican grower could do, Mandel said, including growing bell peppers in May when everyone else was done in March.

When Mandel asked him how he did it, Mizokami said walking fields every day and watching the peppers’ color helped him determine when they needed water.

Mizokami also was known for growing large bell peppers.

“He was a remarkable human being who was ahead of his time,” Mandel said. “He was incredibly determined, and he had a vision. He was determined to pack in SunFed boxes with uniform quality.”

Mizokami is survived by his wife, Grace, two sons, a daughter, and several siblings and grandchildren.