Rivenrock Gardens Cactus Blog

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Avis's Tortoises

Tortoises eating cactus

Tortoises eating cactus

   Avis sent over a photo of her tortoises eating cactus we grew.
She says they really enjoy the cactus we send them.
This is one of the Grade D leaves that lived through the winter.
You can see they are thick, but still have plenty of nice goodness inside.


Louie likes the cactus fruit

   This is a posting from a reptile forum.  We know it is our fruit mentioned….
Louie is a tortoise… it is said that cactus is the ‘most perfect food’ for them.

We grow it for humans, but whatever…
   We smile thinking of torts big and small around the country eating our cactus.
Iguanas too, and parrots.

” bought Louie a cactus fruit yesterday (ty D). At first I was a little
worried that he wouldn’t like it, but I figured he likes the cactus pads, so
I’d give it a shot.

I was totally not expecting the reaction I got, it actually frightened me
for a sec, LOL. Louie took a lick at first, then WOW! he just dived right in
the bowl and ate it all. He was shaking and moving around and half whipping,
he was so excited!

I know it’s something so simple and small, but I know that Louie has never
had these types of foods before, knowing how his past “owners”-if you can
call them that, treated and what they fed him (lettuce *gasp*). These little
moments make my mama heart happy

Looks like I’ll be going in at least once a week for more Can you keep a
stockpile for me Drew? LMAO”

A Mention On Twitter

   Someone mentioned us on Twitter yesterday…

on the list today: Order Cactus for Sherman (our sulcata). @RivenCactus with amazing cactus and prices is my go to supplier”


10lbs of cactus headed to my house.  Sherm is going to be so happy”

  We’ve got pretty good relations with many of our customers.  We enjoy getting positive feedback from folks… we like learning when they enjoy our cactus. We also like to get suggestions as to packaging, marketing suggestions, etc.  It is through the advice of folks who know that we learn so much more.  Thank you all.

  You can find us on Twitter at    @RivenCactus

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….

Another happy customer

A fellow named ‘M’ at a major zoo just purchased a fifty pound box of our ‘Super Economy’ Grade ‘D’ cactus.  This is the best cactus to use for feeding reptiles, or making stews or other cactus dishes that will get a bit of cooking… they are in general the thicker older leaves, twisted and bent etc…. fine for feeding a tortoise though… or for a chili or stew recipe that will cook them some.


   This is what he said…


  ” I wanted to let you know that the cactus pads arrived this afternoon and they look great!  I really appreciate it.  I’ll be in touch, I’m sure to purchase more once all of this is used up.  I did have a question about whether or not you sell the fruit too.  If so I’d be interested in hearing prices for that as well.”


   Great M, we’re glad you like the leaves.  I’d be interested in finding out how the tortoises and other animals responded initially, and again later after having gotten used to the leaves.  From what people tell us… captive raised animals who’ve never eaten cactus initially approach it cautiously… but after a few bites they decide they like it a lot. And the next time the handler approaches with a cactus leaf, the animal will instantly recognize it, and respond in such a way that the keeper is often astonished at how much the animal relishes the cactus.


   We will be selling fruits later this summer when they start to ripen. We have five varieties we grow for fruit…. and soon the harvest will begin.

New Photo Gallery

  We just put up a new photo album. It is arranged into twelve albums and has over 1,300 photos.


The photos cover some of  the beaches, hills, deserts and cities of California.



Shell and El eating cactus

Shell and El eating cactus
Shell and El eating cactus


   A long-time customer sent a photo of their tortoises eating the cactus they get from us.


   We grow our cactus for humans, but if you share it with your tortoises, iguanas, bearded-dragons or exotic parrots, that’s fine with us.  It’s much better for them than sharing your iceburg lettuce which really has no nutrients.


   Here’s what Avis had to say about the reaction of the torts to our cactus….



   ” My tortoises are long time loyal fans of your cactus. 



   Attached are two pictures of Shell and El, chowing down on some yummy opuntia.


   The torts and I would be delighted if you used their pictures. 


Use it on the blog also. 


   Tortoises, at least Shell and El love this cactus and they take it out of each other’s mouth if necessary. 


Thanks for growing great cactus.”




   Thank you Avis for being a great customer for these years.

World Turtle Day Contest!

    Since May 23rd is ‘World Turtle Day’, American Tortoise Rescue  is having a contest and giving out prizes. One of the prizes is some of our cactus. So we encourage you to visit their website and sign up for the contest… and while you’re there…. give them a little donation… they are a non-profit and help rescue and place abandoned and neglected tortoises and turtles, as well as educate the public about how these interesting animals should be raised.


Turtle Walk

The Tortoise and Turtle Society of Campbell, CA ( Just South West of San Jose ), is having a nature walk around some ponds… they sent this message….


On May 9, this Saturday, at 8:30am we will be starting a walk around the Campbell Percolation Ponds.  We will be parking at the intersection of Dell Avenue and E. Hacienda, it is street parking and doesn’t cost anything.  Meet us between 8:15 and 8:30, we’ll start walking at 8:30.  Wear comfortable walking shoes, bring some water and a pair of binoculars.  It will be about a 1.5 mile walk, about 1.5 hours.   

The Percolation ponds are known for having several non native and native species of Aquatic Turtles. 

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,