Rescue Juice truck
Ventura County, CA
In the 1990s, Megan Jackson’s primary concern was not which taco truck had the best tacos al pastor, but how she was going to beat leukemia and stay alive. Chemotherapy just seemed to make her sicker, forcing her to make a truly life-altering decision – she was going to heal by stopping the chemotherapy and through nutrition, with the focus on natural juice. Her doctors warned her against it, and asked her to sign a waiver stating that she was resorting to untested methods against their wishes (presumably to absolve them of any wrong-doing and prevent legal action after what would undoubtedly be Megan’s demise). Not only did her health improve, but also her leukemia went into remission (and has stayed there). Megan’s husband Tom became a man with a mission – to spread the news and pass the juice; he was only lacking a means to do so.
In 1995 on the return road trip from their honeymoon, Jackson spotted a 1969 GMC fire rescue truck in a vacant lot beside a fire station. The vehicle had been there so long there were weeds growing out from underneath it. He immediately realized that this was going to be his labor of love (with the emphasis on labor), converting the truck into a rolling juice bar. The truck needed extensive work, and he spent almost a year, several thousand miles and $45,000 dollars to get the vehicle in thirst-quenching order, ready to respond in February of 1996. Jackson had made Channel Islands Harbor his new home and base of operations, initially offering fresh, healthy juices, coffee and light snacks out of the aptly named Rescue Juice truck. In addition to bringing the vehicle to fundraising events to raise money to battle leukemia, Tom also does catering and appears at major events in the area (sirens blazing by request). You could say that he was running a cutting-edge food truck when the earliest of the fusion trucks were still in diesel diapers.
Jackson states that as a result of public demand, he no longer blends items such as ginseng and ginger root in the drinks (they were sitting unused), but he still uses fresh, healthy ingredients. I discovered Rescue Juice at the annual Johnny Cash Music Festival at the Ventura County Fairgrounds; I was in dire need of some coffee and spotted the truck (which isn’t too difficult) prior to having to call 9-1-1. Although hot coffee seems an odd choice at an outdoor festival under the blazing sun, I’m relatively sure that Juan Valdez holds a prominent place in my ancestry, and his legacy was not to be denied. Although Jackson can whip up cappuccino and lattes on-board, I was in the market for coffee – hot, strong and black. From a “fast food” standpoint, coffee seems to be something that is difficult to do right – it runs the gamut of tasting like the ashes from a 5-alarm fire or someone having run a fire hose through a coffee filter. I was pleasantly surprised that Rescue Juice’s coffee was flavorful, and neither too strong or too weak. Claudia and I also split what Tom calls the “Fire Extinguisher”, blended from fresh non-sprayed strawberries and lemon. The drink was thick and naturally sweet, with just the right amount of tang from the lemon, a cold, refreshing and healthy treat on a hot summer day.
The Rescue Juice truck has been abating thirst for 15 years now, certainly an accomplishment to be proud of. In the event of a beverage emergency, it’s Tom Jackson to the rescue!
567 Channel Islands Blvd. #103
Port Hueneme, CA 93041