Rivenrock Gardens Cactus Blog

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Customer Testimonial

   I googled ‘pages that link to rivenrock.com” to see who has links to us. I found one page where the folks said… “We have had very good luck buying bulk quantities from Rivenrock.com. They have kept very well in a cool room in the basement for months. ” Tim & Robin

  We like doing the things we do… the people we’re able to send good cactus to. It’s a great deal of fun to find sucha  great unsolicited endorsement.

spineless cactus request

From an e-mail we got…

 

 

 

Do you sell small amounts of spineless cactus pads. I have a baby Sri Lanka star tortoise and I would like to get some cactus pads for him. I’ve been told that the cactus pads are very good food for him. He does not eat a whole lot though since he is small and I don’t want to buy a bunch and have it go bad on me. Let me know what amounts you sell and how much. What other items would be good for my tortoise that you sell.

Here’s my response,

  I see you joined our mailing list… that is a good first start. When we have availability issues, the folks on the mailing list get first dibs at everything. Only when we are sure of supply do we open the leaves to the open world on the site.

   It turns out we’re releasing an e-mail in two days, that will start the season off.

   Our smallest batch is five pounds…. this is because shipping is the same for smaller batches using the Priority Mail, and we have to put packing material into the box to sell smaller amounts. So it’s not worth it to anyone to ship 2 lb batches. Most people see they get some three to four weeks storage for their leaves… just keep the box under a counter or something… folks are amazed how long they last.

  This brings up the issue of monthly shipments… we give a discount for signing up for monthly shipments… and you don’t have to remember to order. Most people say if they still have cactus left over from the previous month, it is still good.

 

   You could also eat a bit yourself from time to time. We grow it really for people to eat… but have found that marketing to tort people gives us more sales.  There are many people who say that cactus is very healthy for people also.

   Our five pound package will be selling for $25… shipping is included.  Our five pound monthly subscription package will be selling for $23.

  We don’t sell anything but cactus.  And we grow all of the cactus we sell, and sell none but what we grow.

   The mailing should go out Wednesday, and we’ll be picking and shipping before the weekend.

Thanks for your mail,

Cactus Storage

 

   We get many people asking us how long the cactus we ship will last…. I like to tell them that in general they will be happy with it for about two weeks, after that it will start to get a bit softer.

 

   Now, it should be realized that I view this through the prism of someone who grows cactus for human consumption. While two week-old cactus might still seem fine to someone in Minnesota in the middle of winter, it might seem a bit older to me who is picking fresh cactus several times weekly.  I also like to lower customer expectations, rather than to give them an ‘overly inflated’ expectation. I’d rather people who buy from us be pleased that the cactus is much better than they suspected it would be.

 

   One of our customers who asked how it should be stored wrote us this mail, so that we could pass it on to our other customers….

 

   Be aware, he wrote this in February, and some of it is speaking of cactus that he’s had for a couple of months…. he lives in an undisclosed location that gets horrible snow and loads of cold….. brrrrrr

 

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I asked once about storing the cactus, you said a cool dark shed,
or something like that.

It worked, this winter I insulated the garage, it’s got a bit of heat,
it is around 40-45*f most times.

I have it in a plastic cooler, when it is real cold out and I worry the
garage will cool down below freezing I close the lid.

Temp ok in the morning, open and let it sit uncovered.

I’m still using the pads from thanksgiving.

A few got soft, (but not spoiled-NO Waste at this entire batch)
I use them 1st, the tender young ones.

The older stuff is as fresh as it was mid November when you picked it.

The fruit lasted a while too (3 weeks if memory is right).

If anyone asks, this is a great way to keep it.

The fridge didn’t work.

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   Now, this is pretty much along the lines of what I recommend for tort owners… many of our customers say that they keep the leaves in a box in the garage, or a storage shed near the tort enclosure.  Also, for tortoises, the Grade ‘C’ leaves which tend to be thicker and more mature have the longest shelf-life.  Many people seem to be able to use our monthly subscriptions to get their cactus in an economical and simple fashion, and by the end of the month, when they are feeding the last few leaves to their tortoises, they are still feeding pretty fresh material.

 

  When we send out fresh leaves, probably the best way to use them is to feed the less mature leaves first, they will go soft fastest.

Customer Testimonial

   We got an e-mail from a new customer….

   “How should store cactus that I have received, which by the way is quite nice looking and my torts love it!!”

  We wrote back….

 Most folks seem to get by fine (a couple weeks or three, even a month) with the cactus in the box, open, sitting under a bench in the garage.
   All you need is a cool spot, and not a lot of light. In fact, in general the darker the better, but you don’t have to aim for real darkness.
   Some folks keep it in the fridge. But don’t wrap it too tightly. The leaves should not have moisture against them.
 
  We’re glad you like the leaves.
   Is it ok if we put your happy testimonial in our ‘customer testimonials’ section? We could use just your initials. That preserves your privacy.
 
   I’d also put my reply, this will help to inform other folks who browse the site.
 
   This is the tough time of year for us, the quality stays about like this for another couple of months, and then starts to get better as the spring comes in and brings the fresh leaves on. So if you like them now, you’ll just be happier with them come springtime.
 
  Also, we really do sell these with the intent of people eating them, but we’re just as happy to sell for tortoises to eat… but we encourage you to try some… use one of the younger thinner fresher looking leaves… they’re pretty good cleaned, diced and added to fried potatoes and eggs in the morning. Good for you too. In fact, cactus is considered a healthy food, indeed a ‘health food’ that the grandmothers run for when people have certain ailments. Just a little bit daily is real good for a person.
 
    We have just started back with our ‘monthly subscription’ for five pounds… this year for $23. This is for the five pound Grade ‘C’ leaves. In general you’d probably be pretty happy with the grade C. But they are more likely to be the ones with big holes from a rock during a storm, or the top half gone due to frost. You still get about the same weight, just more will look a bit rough.  We can’t offer subscription offers like that with the Grade B because we often have frost or something that removes Grade B from the roster. So all we’d have then is Grade C anyways. And there have been times we’ve stopped all new sales to new customers so we could continue the monthly subscriptions.  But we’re doing ok so far this year.  We had one big huge freeze for three nights in a row in Dec… but we were able to keep the plants from freezing too badly.  And a heat wave (temps in the 80′s) for three weeks afterwards gave us new growth we hope will mature  into good leaves in March and April. But once May comes, we’re usually doing just great, with fine leaves, and all the grades actually (pretty much) do go up a notch in quality.
 
   We’re glad to have you as new customers, and hope you will continue to buy the great Organic Edible Cactus of Rivenrock Gardens,
 
Thanks,

  They wrote back…

Thank you for the reply and of course you may put it in your site, I will send pics of the torts eating also to the site. I am sure I will try it myself eventually and look forward to a long relationship with you as my torts will live a very long time.

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  A long business relationship is what we seek.  Our business has been growing much like a tortoise, slow, steady and sustainable. We have gradually increased our growing area and proficiency as our sales have increased.  We are in this for the long haul, much of our production is from varieties that might take years to come into full maturity, but will live for decades in the same spot, putting out good leaves each year during those times.

   Yes, slow and steady suits us just fine.