Paul Beary Dickman founded the first tomato packinghouse in Ruskin. Starting with one acre of tomatoes, he became one of the state’s largest growers, with over 3,000 acres of vegetables. He expanded his interests to include citrus, cattle and a pre-cooling service for fresh produce. Dickman developed many items of specialized equipment for growing staked tomatoes and worked with the USDA and the University of Florida in preparing and packaging vegetables for retail sale, the latter winning him recognition as Vegetable Man of the Year from the Vegetable Growers of America in 1951. He was a member of various agricultural, business, social and community organizations, serving as president of many of them, including the Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association and Florida Council of Farm Cooperatives. He was Vice President of the Vegetable Growers Association of America, and was named Florida Man of the Year in Agriculture by Progressive Farmer Magazine in 1949.