Our History


James S. Dixon 1932 – February 5, 2016

James S. Dixon

On November 25th, 2015 Jim Dixon suffered a major heart attack and spent the next 34 days at SB Cottage Hospital having 2 additional surgeries for his heart. Unfortunately, he was not able to successfully recover. Jim spent his final days at the Serenity House in Santa Barbara receiving excellent compassionate care with his family by his side. Jim loved the grocery business like no other, it was his passion to say the very least. His farming & grocery career began 70+ years ago as a young man. He also enjoyed ballroom dancing and his Crystal Cruises all over the world with his wife Barbara, ice hockey, and his annual hunting trips to Colorado with his son Michael who lived in Kona, Hawaii. Unfortunately, Michael James Dixon also had a heart attack and passed away on Saturday November 28th, 2015, only 3 days after Jim’s heart attack. They both will truly be missed. Jim was a generous caring man who loved his family, friends and customers. He is survived by his wife Barbara, two daughters, Cynthia and Sherry, his best friend Roke Fukumura, and his son John Dixon, who has partnered side by side with Jim operating Tri-County Produce since 1985. Tri-County Produce will of course continue operating as usual with our wonderful team of people under John Dixon with the same philosophy taught by Jim, “Quality & Freshness are the #1 important goals”, along with great customer service!

A Celebration of Jim’s Life was held Saturday March 5th, 2016,
First Presbyterian Church of Santa Barbara

Please visit dixonmemories.com for more information.


Jim Dixon was raised on his father’s farm in Eastern Canada. As a young boy, he worked the farm where hey grew and harvested many fruits and vegetables. Jim and his father would pick the produce and load it on a wagon which was hitched to a team of horses. In this way, they transported their fresh picked produce to the local market for sale. Jim has been in the produce and grocery business all his life.

Cox Cable Commercial 1998

1999 Cox Cable TV Commercial

John Dixon has been in the food business for over 25 years. John’s motto, “We are here to serve the customer,” has been his guiding principle. For John, keeping the customer satisfied is his #1 priority.

The building where Tri-County Produce is located was built in 1950 for Harry Bowman. Harry had earlier started a produce business in Santa Barbara and named it Harry Bowman Produce. For years, Harry distributed wholesale produce to the tri-counties, delivering to restaurants, schools and stores. The business was wholesale only and not open to the public.

Harry sold the business to Virgil and Marie Elliot and in 1976 several friends asked Marie if they could come and purchase fresh produce at the Tri-County Produce Warehouse. They were tired of the poor quality and high prices of their local supermarket grocery stores. Reluctantly, Virgil allowed some of Marie’s friends to come in at a specified time of day.

Harry Bowman

Marie’s friends were so excited and satisfied that they began telling other friends, frequently asking to return. Soon after, Virgil and Marie decided to open Tri-County Produce to the public. In 1985, Jim Dixon and his son, John, purchased the business from Virgil and Marie.
Together, Jim and John have successfully grown Tri-County Produce for over 30 years to be a well established local Santa Barbara business with a great reputation for Quality, Value and Service.