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Opuntia Ficus-Indica has been cultivated for centuries, and has now spread throughout the world’s more arid climates. Prickly pear has cultivated for its fruit, cladodes, cochineal. Cochineal are parasitic insects that attach themselves to prickly pear cacti, and are harvested for use to make a brilliant red dye. Cochineal dye has been used for centuries, even being used by the British as a dye for military uniforms during the American Revolution. Shadow Mesa Gardens plans to not only continue the centuries old agricultural cultivation of the prickly pear cacti, but also to greatly expand its demand, cultivation, and applications.
By developing the science of cactus farming, Shadow Mesa Gardens hopes to create a reliable method to produce delicious, natural fruit, and to create an infrastructure that will allow that fruit to be introduced to those who have never had an opportunity to try this exotic succulent. By franchising with farmers whose land is unable to support traditional crops, Shadow Mesa Gardens will be able to help support traditional, organic farming in isolated rural communities throughout the American Southwest and Central America.