(Oct. 2) Frank Yamamoto was considered old school in today’s produce industry.

Yamamoto a former buyer on the Los Angeles Wholesale Produce Market for 50-plus years, was a free spirit and teacher of the trade, who knew specifics of nearly every fresh fruit and vegetable imaginable, said Mike Desimone, longtime friend.

On Sept. 22, Yamamoto died in San Diego, after a 16-month battle with lung cancer, said his son, Mark Yamamoto. The elder Yamanoto was 79.

Born and raised in Tacoma, Wash., Frank Yamamoto first began buying in the 1950s for his father’s grocery store in Gardenia, Calif. After its closing, he bought for the Desimone Market, Redondo Beach, Calif., and then went to the Gardenia-based Mejii Market — now Pacific Market — where he worked until 2004, when he retired, his son said.