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Seagate’s summer Nopal harvest season begins

Seagate grows on our farm or harvests from the ocean ~ 20 different raw materials. Nopal Cactus is just one of them. Just like any other plant or tree, there is a correct time for cutting off (pruning) the old-growth to allow the plant to prosper during the coming year. In the case of Nopal Cactus, the Summer is when we harvest the older leaves, cutting back this cactus to allow the new buds to begin to grow beginning in the Fall.

Nopal cactus farm

Nopal cactus farm

Seagate farms and and fishing operations are located in northern Baja California, near the town of Ensenada which is 65 miles south of the border with San Diego. While we  select only those plants and trees (olive trees, lemon trees, pomegranate, tomatoes, broccoli, artichokes carrots, etc)  that are suitable to this very dry, very hot desert climate, the plant that is the most natural of all to this area is the Nopal Cactus. It grows wild across the desert hills, needing no direct irrigation. It pulls the moisture it needs from the condensation of water drops that land on its sharp spines at night.

Nopal leaves unloaded in the Seagate plant

Nopal leaves unloaded in the Seagate plant

However, we do not harvest wild cactus. Instead, we have the Nopal growing in a controlled, fenced in area.  These spiny leaves act as the plant’s natural storehouse of water, to help carry it through periods when even the moisture in the air is scarce. They act almost like water balloons since the water content is so high. Normally we evaporate 96% of the weight of each Nopal in the plant freeze-dryers. In other words, on average for every 100 lbs of raw nopal leaves entering the process, there is a final yield of ~4 lbs of dry powder which is composed primarily of fiber. Sometimes this raw fiber has a tendency to clog our pre-grinding machines, which must be opened and cleared by hand.

Pre-grinder clogged by Nopal fiber

Pre-grinder clogged by Nopal fiber

 

These same properties that make Nopal Cactus a storehouse for water in its fiber in Nature, make it beneficial as a supplement: (for diet, regularity and sugar absorption)

  1. the powder in the capsules will expand in the stomach upon contact with water to give you a temporary feeling of fullness.
  2. the high fiber content helps to absorb wastes in the intestines and bowels, helping to push them along through the colon – helping also with regularity.
  3.  the water absorption also temporarily absorbs water-soluble nutrients such as sugar, causing a slower release during the digestive process and reducing spiking.

Seagate has been freeze-drying Nopal Cactus for almost 15 years.

The tropical reef taken in the photo below happens to be in very good condition, with healthy coral and a lot of small fish. It is ideal when doing underwater photography to shoot at this angle, with the dark blue of the distant water framing the background.

Healthy Caribbean tropical reef

Healthy Caribbean tropical reef

 

 

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