Rivenrock Gardens Cactus Blog

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Cactus Shipment talk

   We have a query from a large organic-food distribution company… they asked me about shipping services we use, and what our shipments going out are like… this is what I wrote back….



   Most of the individual orders are for five to ten lbs for home chefs for home use,  and tortoise owners who feed it to their torts due to it’s phosphorus/calcium levels. It’s said to be optimum for shell and bone growth.


   Those are shipped by a combo of UPS Ground or USPS Priority Mail whichever the customer likes. It travels well…. evidently even a week in the box is not so bad. Cactus has a unique respiration system… also the leaves are adapted to getting knocked off and washed away in storms to re-sprout the leaves downstream…. so when plucked from the plant, they shut themselves down to await the end of the journey.  They have a waxy skin that seals the inside off. All in all, the physiological adaptations of cactus make it good for storage. You might find them to be good for a couple of weeks or more.


  We also get fifty lb orders. We ship those by UPS Ground. They are in 16″ cube boxes… for your uses the one with the three smaller boxes inside would be best. This keeps the weight off the bottom ones…. we don’t get as much weight in the boxes that way.. 40 lbs vs. 50.  But for resale, I think that’s your best option.


   On occasion we get the multi-thousand pound order from folks who process them. Those are shipped by Fed Ex Ground by the pallet. Each pallet is billed at 1,000 lbs… but tends to be 1,125 or so in weight.


   For commercial accounts, we give thirty day billing, and invoice with the shipment… that is if we are allowed to ship using your shipping account info. If there is no payment out of pocket for us, we are willing to give thirty day billing and special pricing… so don’t listen to the website on pricing at your level.


   You’ll find our cactus to be superior for restaurants and the home cook who is a bit unfamiliar with cleaning cactus. Ours needs only a kitchen scrubber pad to clean.  One or two demonstrations and your customers should have an idea of what to do with them.  If you folks wish to do demonstrations, I am willing to speak with you about special promotional pricing and shipping using your shipping accounts. This will give you the opportunity to promote the cactus leaves at little cost to you.  These are options we normally only extend to large buyers such as your company, and not made to the general public. My aim is to get more large commercial accounts.  We have superior material…and while we have many small orders, we want to get more large orders.  We have enough plantings to sell you plenty for some time… we have new plantings made this year that are coming into production, and we have more room to plant plenty more. So there is plenty of room for expansion.


  This is a good plant, a unique thing, and the big company that gets in first will be well placed. We have a big internet presence… we have many links to our site, we’re well branded…. when we’re big, anyone who’s been selling our leaves for some time will be glad they got in when they did.

Twitter Update

    Yowzah!  There’s a lot of folks on Twitter, the social network site that only lets long-winded people (like me) make tiny little posts. Folks, I don’t tend to do anything in a  small way… LOL



   I’ve been having fun looking up some of my favorite raw food chefs, gourmet people, and tortoise folks. Those are our main markets… we grow the cactus totally for human consumption.. but know that there are some folks who share it with their tortoises also.



   One of the organizations I like and contribute to is ‘American Tortoise Rescue’   in Malibu California.  So when I found their Twitter Page, I was stoked.  I went ahead and ‘Followed’ them. I think Twitter has potential for me to use for marketing… a gentle way to put the message out that cactus is healthy and friendly to the environment.



    So if you have a Twitter account, and want to ‘Follow’ Rivenrock Gardens on Twitter, do let us know….

Give me some water



   Water is good….


   It is fundamental to life on Earth



   Here’s some photos of our Opuntia ficus-indica getting some fresh water…..


   They are so efficient at getting water from the ground, that a day after watering, the soil already seems dry.


~Eddie Money~
‘Give me some water’


Chapter 8


The highest goodness is like water.
Water effortlessly benefits all things without struggling.
It is content to flow to the low places that people scorn.
In this way water is in accordance with the Tao.



Chapter 15



The ancient masters of the Tao
had a subtle, perceptive, penetration.
Their wisdom was unfathomable and cannot be comprehended.
It is because they were unknowable
that we can only describe the way they appeared.
They were as careful as someone crossing an iced-over stream,
They were as aware as a warrior in hostile territory.
They were as considerate and humble as a guest,
as changeable as melting ice.
They were as unpretentious as an un-carved block of wood,
and as approachable as a wide open valley.
They were as clear as a glass of water.
Do you have the patience to wait…
till the mud settles and your water is clear?
Can you remain motionless…
till the right action arises by itself?
The Master doesn’t seek fulfillment.
Not seeking, not expecting,
He is at hand in every moment,
His vigor will not be easily exhausted,
And his need for renewal will be reduced.



Chapter 34

The Tao flows all around like a great river,
To the left and to the right it surrounds all.
It gives rise to all, and nourishes and clothes them,
but lays no intention on control.
It is merged in all things, and hidden in their inner being;
Thus it may be termed small.
All things return to it at the end of life;
Thus it is called great.
The sage models himself after the Tao,
Unburdened, not striving, content with what is.



Chapter 44


Fame or integrity, which do you hold most dear?
Your wealth or your life, to which will you cling?
Gain or loss, which one increases your anxiety?
In fame and wealth and gain can be found the seeds of failure,
And in integrity and life and loss can be found the root of treasures.
Thus it is that a contented person is never ashamed of what they have,
Having self-restraint he can avoid trouble,
In this way he can endure long, and live contentedly.



Chapter 46


When the world is in accord with the Tao
horses work and fertilize the fields with their droppings,
When The Way is forgotten,
warhorses are bred and feed on the people’s autumn harvest
in the parks of the cities.


There is no worse calamity than desire,
There is no greater misery than knowing no contentment,
There is no greater catastrophe than losing self-control.
Contentment can come from realizing one has enough,
Attaining contentment, one can attain internal peace.




Chapter 78

There is nothing more flexible and yielding than water.
And yet there is nothing better for attacking the hard and rigid,
there is nothing that can do what it can do.
So it is that the rigid can be overcome by the flexible,
and the haughty by the humble.
Yet even knowing this;
still no one will put this into adequate practice.
For this reason it is said that the ones who accept the humiliation
of the country are fit to be its rulers.
Those who take the sins of the people
onto themselves are able to act as King.
This is the paradox of truth!



In dwelling, live close to the Earth.
For the mind, depth should be sought.
In conflict, be fair and righteous.
In government, self-mastery, competence and timing is preferred.
The sage does not strive,
Therefore no one can strive against him.



This we’ll defend… one day at a time

Calif coast north of Santa Barbara



  When I was in the service… our unit’s motto was  ‘This we’ll defend’.


   I think of that often as I walk past our front door where I have a mirror with our unit insignia and motto engraved….  that mirror means more to me than even the DD214 that let me out.


   I think of that motto also when I see some of the awesome sights I see in California…. or when I look at some of my loved ones…. or some of the animals we have….


   Thank You Lord, for all You have given me.


Mathew 6:


For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?


Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap, nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?


And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?


“And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these.


“But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith!


“Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’


“For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.


“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.


“So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”



   It is not this life that counts the most….

   But how you live this life will likely have great impact on the next.


   One day at a time…..


  Tomorrow will come soon enough

Cactus Fruit Eating Adventure

   There are some 400 species of cactus in the genus ‘Opuntia’.  Pretty much all of them have fruit…. some of the fruit is not that good, and not worth eating. some is exceptionally sweet, and totally delicious (although you must be aware of the seeds).



   Here’s a video of a woman in New York (get a rope!) who purchased some cactus fruit at her local store, took it home and tried eating it.



   She was gloriously unimpressed.



   I think part of it may be with the way she cut into it…. the rind is NOT what you want to eat…. that’s like taking a slice of banana with the peel, eating it, and deciding you don’t like bananas.



   I know the folks who probably grew that fruit. They are a fellow California cactus company that DOMINATES the cactus-fruit market in the USA.  I’ve eaten their fruits and found them to be a good variety, of high quality. Although I did notice the fruit she picked seemed a little old.



   I think this lady should watch my video on how to peel a cactus fruit, then she could try it again…. the cactus fruit season is just around the corner!




Cactus for weight loss

    There’s all kinds of cactus fiber formulations out there.   I reckon there’s some validity to them…. I don’t wish to speak against them because a large company buys cactus from us by the ton, and freeze-dries it to prepare for making into a powder.  I hope they sell tons and tons!



   While I’m a fan of ‘fresh’, I do know that some folks would rather take a small pill rather than eat a leaf each day.



  I came upon this video of a woman pitching a weight loss formulation using dried nopal cactus.




   I don’t know what studies she’s referring to…. but year by year, more studies come to light that do seem to point toward the efficacy of cactus for medical uses.  I think the next few years will bring to light the largest studies to date… ones that are ‘double-blind’ studies with a timeline of years for the research.  There are several large studies that have been in effect for the last five years or more…. these are the studies I am waiting for.

On Salads, and the lack thereof

   I came upon a great blog about food, and the author bemoans the dearth of good salads in the US.


She gives a few quick and easy salad recipes… they are great, and the kinds of foods I grew up with.



   People will bandy-about terms like ‘The Mediterranean Diet’, and ‘The French Paradox’.   And truly there are important considerations to be made in regards to foods.  And while we may pretty much all agree that a largly plant-based diet is healthiest…. we often fail to consider that it is a wide variety of foods consumed with relish (I mean gusto, not the condiment) that leads to a healthy diet. Sadly the US ‘salad’ of head lettuce and carrot peelings is not really a good diet.



   Really all that is required is a variety of foods, put into a bowl and mixed together with some nice spices and oils.  It is the variety of this-and-that from wide ranging areas, each with their own nutrients and deficiencies based on the local soils… mix them all together and you have a diet rich in variety and nutrients.. low in fats and bad stuff…



   And yes, with every bowl of your fresh vegetable purchases for the day, you can easily add a little diced cactus to the mix. It is one of the herbs that adds the richness and variety to your salad.

Organic Market Continues to Climb

A report suggests that the consumer is continuing to switch more and more to organic products….

This of course gives hope to farmers who wish to switch to organic methods.

Organics is the best way to grow things…. sure, yields in some cases can go down, and economy of scale is generally impacted negatively.   But organics is the best solution for the planet, for the environment, and for the health of the humans and the animals that will consume those products.

A higher look

  Humans are so amazingly clever…. an astounding species…
capable of laughter, love and terrible barbarisms.



   We run the gamut…


   What is good should be held high and proclaimed loudly,
because what is bad will generally push itself before us…
it is better to see, hear and think ‘good’ more often than ‘bad’
and bad has no qualms about being known and seen



   What we see often we tend to emulate….



   Arts should be open to all, boldly shouted from roof tops and warehouse walls in the form of glowing colors arranged in abstracts or realisms to suit the artists.. freeing them and using the town as a canvas.



   We’ve been painting what we see and what we dream for millenia…. numerous are the caves and cliffs that still bear testimony to man’s artistry and thirst for expression.



   How many of the caves were painted by our ancestors with accompaniment of music by the people engaged in watching the artist at work?  How much is this the same as us watching the moving artwork of film while the music score accompanies and enhances the experience?  Nothing has really changed… it has just changed form.  The energy of the ancients still runs in us…. we just had a higher platform from which to start.  Now this generation has built up the foundation just that much more…. future generations will continue to dazzle the people with continuous displays of art and life.



~Steely Dan~
‘The Caves of Altamira’




On the stone an ancient hand
In a faded yellow-green
Made alive a world of wonder
Often told but never seen
Now and ever bound to labor
On the sea and in the sky
Every man and beast appeared
A friend as real as I


Before the fall when they wrote it on the wall
When there wasn’t even any Hollywood
They heard the call
And they wrote it on the wall
For you and me, we understood





Can it be this sad design
Could be the very same
A wooly man without a face
And a beast without a name
Nothin’ here but history
Can you see what has been done
Memories rush over me
Now I step into the sun







a painting on the wall

a painting on the wall

Highland Ave, Hollywood Calif

Highland Ave Hollywood Palms

Highland Ave Hollywood Palms

   The Los Angeles area has these tall palms all over.  These ones are on Highland Avenue. Highland is one of the main arteries that lead from the Hwy 101 into the Hollywood area.

   It’s easy to get used to going into Hollywood. It seems a mythical place…. but yet, there it is, sandwiched between the hills of North Hollywood (another ‘for-real’ town), and West Los Angeles.

   A friend was visiting from Germany one time.. he called us from Hollywood to inform us he’s coming in the next day or two.  He was so excited when he told me “John, I’m on Hollywood Boulevard!!!”  LOL, I forgot that’s a kind of a really cool thing!

   Actually, I mostly just drive through Hollywood… Oh sure, I stop in and say hello from time to time.  And while I enjoy driving and seeing the sights, and there is certainly a huge amount to look at….. I don’t tend to go roaming and visiting the places that want money to see.  I’m content visiting from my car seat.

   Yet, Hollywood is not all glitz and glamor.  Hollywood is actually, against all common perception a very conservative town.  There are a great number of churches, mosques and synagogues here and there.  Many of the people in Hollywood are highly religious, and seem to enjoy a quiet life after they come back to home.




Highland Ave one street over

Highland Ave one street over

   Thus it is that one street over from the palm-lined Highland Ave, you can have this little poplar tree lined street.  I mean, doesn’t this look like it could be a background scene for some place in Ohio?

  Hollywood is so full of contradictions…. a religiously-based town… full of people in conservative religious garb walking along the sidewalk to work, surrounded by the oddities of Los Angeles…. the drag queens, prostitutes, hustlers, and the many thousands of tourists, with their Bermuda shorts and Hawaiian shirts, pulling their wheeled suitcases behind them.

   It’s all such a study in contrasts…. Hollywood is something of a microcosm of American life….. we may not be all too happy with the way ‘the next guy over’ leads his life…. but we tolerate it…. and try to keep from looking at anything that offends us.  That way we can all get about our own little lives… making our own little contribution to society in whatever way we can… and somehow.. like the master editor who can take snippets of ‘this’ scene, and ‘that’ scene, various camera angles, and add in the audio properly mixed with a compelling music score…. you end up with an amazing little place…. Hollywood…. mythos and reality blended into one.




   Truly, there ain’t no place like it.