Juice Box To The Rescue!

Rescue Juice truck

Ventura County, CA

Rescue Juice, open for business

Rescue Juice, open for business

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.

Tom Jackson, owner of Rescue Juice

Tom Jackson, owner of Rescue Juice

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.

The aptly named Fire Extinguisher

The aptly named Fire Extinguisher

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!

Rescue Juice
567 Channel Islands Blvd. #103
Port Hueneme, CA 93041
[email protected]

GALLERY: See images of Tom Jackson and the Rescue Juice truck

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17 Responses to Juice Box To The Rescue!

  1. Brad says:

    If Tom could, he would work his juice truck 7 days a week. This guy has more energy than the Energizer Bunny when it comes to working his coffee, juices,and hot dogs. Tom is the kind of guy that would help anyone out if he can, and goes out of his way to help people he meets and knows.. He tries very hard to make thing happen, a true giver of kindness and support to many.

  2. Great post. Love the combo of berry and lemon. I haven’t been here in a while. On to the giant artichoke post!!

  3. val says:

    Brad, I only met Tom that day, but can tell you that you get that vibe from him immediately. He has a great story to tell, and I’m only too happy to help spread the word. It helps that he has good coffee, too ;-). I should have tried a hot dog…

    Gary, the “Fire Extinguisher” was tangy and extremely refreshing; a great drink for a hot day that’s neither overly sweet nor too tangy.

  4. Cindy says:

    Rescue Juice is the way to go on any day! Hot, good coffee on cloudy days or fresh juice on warm days. The best ever on any day!! Go Rescue Juice and thanks for serving us so well and with such energy!

  5. val says:

    Wow, Cindy – sounds like Rescue Juice has quite the devoted following!

  6. Madeline says:

    I had the chance to enjoy both juice and coffee from Rescue Juice while helping a friend with her….believe it or not….Dalmations at a dog show in Ventura yesterday. The day was wonderful and very long and the drinks Tom made for me were lifesavers. That truck was definitely ‘Best in Show’!!

    *Tom also had your article and website posted. Great site! Keep up the fun exploration and reporting. 🙂

  7. Dani - computer repair Ventura says:

    Oooh! I haven’t seen this truck around my hood… but very interesting. Do you know if they make stops to Ventura?

    Very inspirational article, by the way. Thank you.

  8. val says:

    Thanks, Dani. I know Tom attends events in the area – I don’t know if he has a route like the L.A. food trucks. Try calling the phone number at the end of the article.

  9. Alex says:

    Tom is the greatest, his juices are superb. His mochas and coffees always have that jolt you need. Every time I go to the fair I have to have one of his weenies. They are big and kosher – you can’t go wrong. I’m planning on naming my first born rescue juice. 🙂

  10. val says:

    Wow – so much feedback on the Rescue Juice truck – obviously Tom has made an impression on a lot of people.

  11. Frank Hedgepeth says:

    Good day! I just discovered your web site, TrippyFood.com from the article “Juice Box To The Rescue” when I was exploring on digg.com. It looks as though someone appreciated your blog so much they decided to bookmark it. I’ll certainly be coming back here more often.

  12. val says:

    Thanks, Frank. This article on Rescue Juice and Tom Jackson to date has been one of the more popular articles, probably because he has a great story to tell. I’m glad you enjoyed the article and the site.

  13. Patricia says:

    What a compelling story… Megan is a true survivor, although I just have to frown at the medical industry today. Unfortunately, they are in the business of keeping people sick. I hope someday I will get to try these smoothies soon.

  14. val says:

    I need to follow up and see how Tom’s doing – he has a great concept, healthy, high quality beverages and most of all heart.

  15. Fred Sylvester says:

    I’m an ex-Chief and firefighter of Coldenham and glad to see our old rescue being put to good work. We actually painted it ourselves back in the 80’s. I will mail you some photos of it. We are in NY near West Point and are an all volunteer dept. Congrats on the mission you do for leukemia.

  16. Andrew Garofalo says:

    Where exactly did you find your old Rescue 208; in California or New York?

  17. val says:

    Fred, nice that you recognize the truck and the work that Tom is doing – hopefully he’ll see this post and know that his work is appreciated. Andrew, as Fred points out, the truck originally came from New York.

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