I recently enjoyed sampling dishes, wine, produce and liqueur at Taste of Melbourne. As they say themselves, it’s the world’s greatest restaurant festival.
I had to stop at the Summer Snow Juice stand after the bottles of single variety apple juice – for example, Pink Lady Apple Juice – caught my eye. I chatted to the third generation farmer and business owner Nick Russo who explained how their juice business evolved.
“There was a huge hail storm in the summer of 1998 that destroyed our orchard’s apples and left a thick layer of hail that looked like snow, which is why we called the juice Summer Snow,” Nick said.
“Rather than just throw out the damaged apples after that storm, dad decided to juice them, adding nothing else to the bottle.” The result morphed into a new business stream, Summer Snow Juice.
Nick offered tastings of his natural single variety apple juice, and it was good. Real apple juice tastes so different to juice made from concentrate. It feels nutritious and tastes pure because it is uncontaminated. Surprisingly, the granny smith apple juice was clean and crisp and not tart at all, which was not what I was expecting. The royal gala juice was gentle and naturally sweet. I wasn’t a fan of pear juice, but then again, I’m not a big fan of pears in general. My favourite was the mixed apple and lemon juice because it was refreshing, sweet, and tangy. They also make an apple and cherry juice, Fuji apple juice, apple and pear juice, and golden delicious juice.
There is not one preservative contained in the juice, but that means that once the bottle is opened, you have to keep it in the fridge and it will only last one week, if you don’t drink it all straight away.
If you don’t want to drive about an hour out of Melbourne to the orchard in Officer, you can buy their juices online. A mixed case containing six 2-litre bottles costs $39.
The Russo family are Italian, his father emigrating from the Amalfi coast near Sorrento. Nick’s grandmother was not called “Nonna” as per most Italian households (including mine), instead she was called “Nanna” because she wanted to be Australian. To honour her 90th birthday, the family consisting of seven children, 28 grandchildren and 19 great grandchildren, put together a gorgeous cook book filled with stories, old photographs, and Nanna’s recipes that had been passed down from one generation to the next. The book is a beautiful salute to Nanna and the Russo family and available for purchase online for $58.
That’s why I love events like Taste of Melbourne. It’s a chance to listen to the stories of passionate producers like Nick Russo and taste good, healthy food.
Summer Snow Juice
544 Brown Road, Officer VIC 3809
Tel: 03 5943 2390