“We’re a couple of farm boys from Toodyay” says Martin Michael, quietly underplaying the beginnings of Michael Brothers Juice as we catch up with him for our local food heroes series. Together with brother Dustin, he's turned a punt on a passion into a successful business supporting West Australian growers.
"We grew up respecting what a difference fresh produce makes to your body from an early age, and fascinated with what I suppose you’d call health food. We were following wholefood expert Don Tolman and making this C.A.B.A.L.A juice (carrot, apple, beetroot and lemon) he does and thinking jeez it’s pretty amazing stuff. That was really the start of the idea. It felt right.”
"A plan just sort of fell together. Dustin was an accountant at the time and I was still at uni. The juice was a real passion for us both so we got into business together."
“We started in 2012 on the family farm but before long demand grew and we moved to the Swan Valley. Here it’s semi-rural while not being too far from the big smoke. You can still catch a breath of fresh air and other boutique producers surround us. It’s a great place for us to be.”
“Growing up we always worked together on the farm. We knew that we both worked hard and had strengths and weaknesses that complemented each other. We had more fights as kids than we do in business today. Obviously our fights are much more professional now. But not as often.”
“Buying direct from growers is really important to us. Our oranges come from Gin Gin, Moora and Bindoon and then later in the year Capel and Harvey. For us the freshness of the fruit is so important and buying direct from farmers means that it’s picked that week, not weeks before and shipped from over east. WA is a lot better and fresher.”
“Cutting out the middleman also means that we can offer a fair price to the farmers and it allows us to keep the price down for our customers.”
Martin and Dustin have developed a range of cold press juices that are raw, preservative free and draw upon growers from around the state. Traditional OJ, Cloudy Apple and Summer Berry are just a few of a range packed with the best of WA and carrying the Buy West Eat Best label. Their original inspiration, the C.A.B.A.L.A, jammed with carrots, apples, beetroots and lemons takes pride of place within the Michael Brothers lineup.
Pictures courtesy of Michael Brothers.