Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Former Mixon Farms owners begin new stage with food truck

The Mixons' food truck showcases the history of Mixon Fruit Farms.
The Mixons' food truck showcases the history of Mixon Fruit Farms.
Photo by Lesley Dwyer
  • Arts + Entertainment
  • Eat + Drink
  • Share

What’s the best part of retirement?

Janet Mixon said it’s the naps. Dean Mixon rolls his eyes at the mere sound of the word "nap." 

“He’s always finding stuff to do,” Janet Mixon said of her husband. 

After closing Mixon Fruit Farms in July 2023, the Mixons are hardly retired. They’ve taken the history of the farm, the favorite sandwiches from the Mixon Fruit Farms' Groveside Cafe and, of course, the same ice cream that was a staple of their business for so many years and now bring it to their customers on a food truck.

The Mixons have been running a food truck since November 2023 called the Mixon Swirl, and there are more familiar faces inside the truck than just the Mixons: former Mixon Fruit Farms' employees Anita Stanley, Marie Lovy and Kaliah Muck.

Stanley ran the cafe. Lovy worked in the office and filled in at the gift shop as needed, and Muck drove the tram for tours and organized the birthday parties and field trips.

“They could be retired, too,” Janet Mixon said of the trio.”I miss them when I haven’t seen them, so we enjoy being around each other.” 

Since closing Mixon Fruit Farms, Janet and Dean Mixon have taken their business on the road in a food truck.
Photo by Lesley Dwyer

As the former tram driver, Muck now drives the food truck.

“Where would I be right now? At home watching the news,” she said. “It’s nice to see sunsets at different locations and different types of people.”

Stanley likes working in a smaller kitchen – less running back and forth.

The Mixons don’t financially need to work. That’s what Janet Mixon said is making the venture so much fun.

She doesn’t have to make sure the truck is booked seven days a week. If an event gets rained out, no one’s sweating the loss. The staff can run the truck without its owners.

When Dean Mixon suggested his wife should learn how to run the register, she immediately declined. 

“I’m the talker,” Janet Mixon said with a big smile. “I just want to enjoy the people. Every single one has a story about coming to the farm and when they moved here. It just makes me happy.” 

The truck took about six months to customize, and there’s no mistaking that it’s the Mixon Swirl. Oranges, ice cream cones, butterflies and honeycomb wrap around the bright blue truck. But what really makes it stand out are the old pictures from the farm. 

“We bring our history along with us,” Janet Mixon said. 

Inside, the Mixons opted to keep it simple. They didn’t want to have to tow a generator on a trailer or add a huge vent over a stove. Instead of powering big appliances, they use toasters, sandwich presses and slow cookers. 

The menu is pared down to the most popular dishes from the cafe and the ones that can be assembled in the back of a truck — the Loaded BLT, Mixon’s Pressed Cuban and the Super Grilled Cheese. Occasionally, someone’s in the mood to make soup.

Then, there are the treats. Dean Mixon makes the kettle corn, and Muck makes the candied nuts. But it wouldn’t be the Swirl Tour without the ice cream, and it wouldn’t be from Mixon’s without the signature orange juice swirl mixed into the soft-serve vanilla.

Longtime Mixon Fruit Farm employees now man the food truck. Anita Stanley and Kaliah Muck stand behind Marie Lovy.
Photo by Lesley Dwyer

During the interview, the temperature rose on the soft-serve machine. Without a screwdriver handy, Dean Mixon used a butter knife to unscrew the side panel and fix the problem. 

He had quadruple bypass surgery four weeks ago, and it’s only slowed him down enough to take a nap now and then. When the farm closed, he did much of the heavy lifting himself to get everything moved out of the building.

“With his heart, (doctors) said he’s lucky he didn’t have a heart attack,” Janet Mixon said.

He’s also starting what he called a “small” raised-bed garden with the old fruit bins from the farm. Small to Dean Mixon includes cucumbers, squash, beans, corn, potatoes and onions. 

“I’ve gotten lazy taking a nap every day,” he said. “I used to plant about an acre garden every year.



Lesley Dwyer

Lesley Dwyer is a staff writer for East County and a graduate of the University of South Florida. After earning a bachelor’s degree in professional and technical writing, she freelanced for the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Lesley has lived in the Sarasota area for over 25 years.

Latest News