Rivenrock Gardens Cactus Blog

La Feria del Nopal

The Sandy Foundation is proud to host the 3rd Annual Cactus Plant Festival or “La Feria del Nopal” on Sunday, August 19, 2012, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Juan’s Restaurante, located in the City of Baldwin Park, CA, to promote the health benefits of cactus, an indigenous, antioxidant-rich vegetable from Mexico and Latin America.

  We cordially invite you to attend the festival on behalf of the City of Baldwin Park and La Feria del Nopal 2012.  Join us in the parking lot of the Maine Avenue Marketplace, located at 4291 Maine St., in Baldwin Park.

 The Cactus Plant Festival, which is free and open to the public, will feature live music, Ballet Folkorico, Aztec dancing, a Latino art exhibit, cooking demonstrations, food sampling, information exhibits, health screenings and children’s activities.

La Feria del Nopal

La Feria del Nopal August 19 Baldwin Park Calif


 The Sandy Foundation was established by Chef Juan Mondragon of Juan’s Restaurante in 2010 in honor of his sister, Sandy, who overcame terminal cancer by receiving medical treatment and consuming a diet heavy in cactus plant dishes that Chef Mondragon prepared. The Cactus Fair mission is to celebrate and promote the health benefits of cactus as well as pre-Hispanic foods and culture through a community health event encouraging a lifestyle of wellness.

 With increasing levels of heart disease, cancer, obesity, diabetes and other diseases in the United States, Mondragon is committed to promoting the antioxidant properties of cactus plant that have been known to lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels, stave off some forms of cancer, cleanse blood vessels, and prevent weight gain.

 Thank you for considering our event. Should you have any questions about the event, please feel welcome to contact us at 626 3378686

Making nopal cactus juice

Here’s some videos showing how to make cactus juice from the fruit of the Nopal Cactus 


This one is from www.naturalnews.tv

This fellow sells juicers… and I like the type of juicer he uses which is called a ‘centrifigal’ juicer….
He also gives a very detailed description of how to select and prepare the cactus fruit for juicing…

 Frieda’s is a large specialty-fruit company.

In fact, it’s the first large food distribution company in the US founded by a female.
In this video they show how the cactus fruits can be prepared and used.

Aloe Vera

   The old folks say that every single plant has a use to man.

   From what I’ve seen, I agree with them.

   We like to raise medicinal herbs…. we only sell the cactus… but we’ve grown a good number of different plants that had some medicinal use. 

   For burns whether by hot exhaust pipes or by the sun, there is nothing that beats Aloe Vera.  People also make it into a drink that is said to be healthy, although there is a process to remove the astringency in the sap.  We just keep a plant on hand for the occasional burn….

   Here’s that plant…. it’s over six feet wide.


Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera

A New Nopal Cactus Health Drink

    New products made from nopal cactus are starting to come out onto the market.
  This one is made from wild-harvested cactus plants. I don’t really like the idea of folks wandering the desert and harvesting plants. The animals of the desert use this amazing plant for their life…. I’d be happier if this company advertised that the plants were grown on the terraced fields of Rivenrock…. but instead they take the food from the mouths of the wild critters in the Sonoran desert and call it ‘sustainable wild-crafting techniques’.

   The commercial is a bit overblown, almost sensationalistic…. but dang, I sure do love the photography and the scenery in this commercial. And I am sure that it is a very healthy drink.


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.

Cactus prickly pear helps normalize blood sugar

   I came by an informative article on the efficacy of Prickly Pear Cactus for the normalization of blood sugar levels and other health issues such as Cholesterol, and weight.


   The article written by Winston F. Craig, Ph.D., R.D., who is professor of nutrition at Andrews University is titled ‘Cactus prickly pear helps normalize blood sugar’.   Here’s a quote from the article….


“The stems of prickly pear cactus contain substantial levels of pectin and other soluble fibers. It’s the fiber content that is believed to be responsible for the ability of the cactus to lower blood sugar and blood lipid levels. Broiling the cactus stems apparently increases its ability to lower blood glucose levels. About 400-500 grams (one half pound) of broiled cactus stems is the typical dose needed for the effect. The high content of pectin also provides the consumer with a sense of abdominal fullness. This property may play a role in the use of prickly pear cactus for weight reduction”

Sauteed Cactus Recipe

mmMMMmmm Good!


   This recipe reminds me of a  friend of mine. He wanted to have a wife schooled in ‘The Old Ways’, so he went  down to Mexico and got himself a wife from his parent’s native village and brought her here to The States.  Ten years ago she knew no English…. now she can converse pretty well in both languages.  I went by their house one day, and they’d just settled down to a big bowl of sauteed cactus much like this recipe. 


   He had the biggest smile on his face when he saw me come in the door… he was so happy and proud to show me that his wife knew all about eating cactus, made him cactus meals nearly daily, and even cared enough to serve the meals in their clear bowls, so you could see all the bright colors of the various ingredients showing from all directions.


   Yes, this meal will make a brilliant display of greens, whites and reds and yellows.  

Sautéed Edible Cactus, Peppers, and Corn

Recipe Summary

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Number of servings: 4




    • 1 large red bell pepper

    • 1 large green bell pepper

    • 1 large onion

    • 1 Tbsp trans-fat free butter

    • 4 small ears of small summer corn

    • 1/2 lb fresh, firm edible cactus, with spines removed, cut in 1/4- to 1/2-inch diced pieces

    • finely minced cilantro or parsley




Halve peppers; then remove seeds and stems. Cut into 1/4- to 1/2-inch squares. Cut onions the same size. Cook peppers and corn in butter in a heavy pan over moderate heat until just softened.

Remove husks and silk from corn; then cut from cob. Add edible cactus and corn to peppers and onion; stir over high heat until vegetables are cooked through, but firm-tender, about 5 minutes.

Sprinkle with herbs and serve hot.

Sautéed Edible Cactus, Peppers, and Corn
Serving Size 1/4 of recipe
Amount Per Serving 
Calories 180 Calories from Fat 35
% Daily Value (DV)* 
Total Fat 4g 6%
Saturated Fat 2g 10%
Cholesterol 10mg 3%
Sodium 30mg 1%
Total Carbohydrates 31g 10%
Dietary Fiber 4g 16%
Sugars 8g  
Protein 5g  
Vitamin A 70%
Vitamin C 260%
Calcium 10%
Iron 8%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000-calorie diet.


  You can find the original recipe with the ‘Diabetic Exchanges’ and the nutrients at Walgreens.


   I substitute olive oil for the butter… I’m an olive oil fanatic.  

   You can see how totally healthy this meal is…. and it is the common meal that peoples in the Americas would have eaten a thousand years ago. The bodies of the Native Americans were adapted to this low-fat high-nutrition diet…. it is the diet that all peoples should return to…. it is much healthier, and dang, it just plain tastes great!

Cactus, the new ‘Super-Fruit’

Here’s an artistically well-produced infomercial for a cactus fruit drink.


   They really hype it as some miracle-cure…. I don’t endorse that style… but I do like hearing people talking good about cactus. And the scenery in the video is pretty, as is the creative filming…. and if you want to buy fruit direct and make your own drink.. join our mailing list, when we start selling the fruit in another month… you could get notified and buy the fruit from us.

   The supposed super-nutrient in nopal cactus fruits is an antioxidant called ‘Betalains’.


I’ve often heard anecdotal evidence that the fruits are very healthy….


Cactus Video Playlist

Going through all the cactus videos I’ve collected on YouTube, I realized I should share this list.

   We have about a dozen of the best videos I’ve found, videos that will show you how to select and prepare cactus for eating, as well as a few recipe videos.

  So, now we have the Cactus Video Playlist.

Wear Sunscreen

I recall hearing this commencement address put to music many years ago. It’s true and pertinent.


Too bad they did not put the entire thing up on this little video… but they must have run out of cactus photos.


The photos are good.


We also have a video of a Hermann’s Tortoise eating nopal cactus