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'Juicy' not giving up sky juice

Published:Saturday | January 19, 2013 | 12:00 AM

Horace Fisher, Gleaner Writer

MAY PEN, Clarendon:

WHILE THERE are scores of juice peddlars in May Pen, one juice man stands out like a sore thumb, selling the old concoction liquid, popular called sky juice.  He is the only one of his kind left in the parish - meet Dalbert 'Juicy' Campbell.

Campbell said he has been selling sky juice for the last 30 years in the parish capital, six days per week, before the bag juice and other bottled juice vendors flooded the market and pushed his sky juice competitors out of business.

He told The Gleaner that the advent of bag juice has been a major disaster for the sky juice trade, with the latter selling for between $30 to $50, while a bag juice can cost a mere $10. He also rues the ignorance of the current generation to sky juice, but insisted that he isn't giving up the juice business any time soon.

"A 30 years now me a sell sky juice, right here so beside the post office in May Pen. Even though the bag juice and the other bottled juice mash up the business, me still a hold on, what else me can do,?" said 66-year-old Campbell.

"You see a bag juice sell for only $10, while a sky juice cost $50, so right there we cannot compete with the bag juice man them, but me not leaving this," said Campbell, as he served one of the refreshing juices to a customer.

During boom days, Campbell said, he used to dispose of up to 200 pounds of ice daily, with at least two to three gallons of syrups and that he used to make hundreds of the refreshment daily, but now the sales have fallen off sharply to just a few from his loyal customers.

"First time, when me a sell sky juice, all a 200 pounds a ice me a use up a day, with two to three gallons a syrup. I share ice and count money till me tired, them time deh; but now, a just one now and then me sell to my old time loyal customers," he lamented.

The sky juice man said the refreshment is a delicate mixture of shaved ice, syrup and water in a poly bag with a drinking straw.

"It is not that hard to make, it's just ice, syrup and water in the bag with a drinking straw, but you have to be careful that you don't make it too sweet or too fresh and over the years I have added homemade ginger beer, which is a hit with my customers," explained Campbell.