Chuck Anunciation, 69, national field inspector for Whole Foods, died Aug. 11 at his home in Anaheim, Calif.
Anunciation worked for the Austin, Texas-based retailer for more than eight years, but has 40 years experience in the produce industry, said Derek Anunciation, his son.
"Chuck laid the groundwork for what is widely viewed in the industry as the highest standard for product quality," Derek Anunciation said. "He simply called it as he saw it and people listened."
Roger Zardo, global produce buyer for Whole Foods, said he worked with Chuck Anunciation on a daily basis the last five years.
"The guy's a legend," Zardo said. "If it's going on in produce, he knows about it. I've learned just a wealth of knowledge."
Zardo said Chuck Anunciation worked with every account from the small local farms to the bigger, national suppliers like Bakersfield, Calif.-based Grimmway and its subsidiary Cal-Organic. He was also part of the team that helped inspect the first packs from Costa Rica's EARTH (Escuela de Agricultura de la Region del Tropico Humedo) University, to make sure its products would work with Whole Foods.
"One thing he was really good at - he could just look at produce and tell you exactly what it was and what you could do with it," Zardo said. "He's going to be missed. He was just a great person."
Memorial services are scheduled for 1 p.m. Aug. 22 at Praise Christian Center, Huntington Beach, Calif.