Author Topic: Why Pitaya (organ pipe cactus fruit) is so expensive  (Read 1088 times)

CherimoyaDude

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Why Pitaya (organ pipe cactus fruit) is so expensive
« on: September 17, 2023, 05:13:15 PM »
Thought this video was interesting. Has anyone tried the fruit? Wondering if it is that much better than other cactus fruit

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g1s1RhnrIfM

NateTheGreat

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Re: Why Pitaya (organ pipe cactus fruit) is so expensive
« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2023, 07:05:08 PM »
I had some that might not have been optimal. They had a beet/raw beef flavor I found unpleasant. When they're in season you can find them at hispanic markets by searching on facebook marketplace. Much better than most of the store-bought dragonfruit I've had though.

Jaboticaba45

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Re: Why Pitaya (organ pipe cactus fruit) is so expensive
« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2023, 07:57:38 PM »
Another expensive one would be the saguaro.
Only grows in parts of Arizona and CA.
Can be processed into jams and I hear it's really good but expensive. Was fortunate to taste a fruit of it while I was there, and it is amazing.
One of the rarest fruits in terms of eating it...I bet not even 1% of people here have tried it fresh of the plant.

SDPirate

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Re: Why Pitaya (organ pipe cactus fruit) is so expensive
« Reply #3 on: September 18, 2023, 01:13:20 AM »
It is supposedly a top tier cactus fruit.  They don't have a long shelf life and are more delicate is probably why it is expensive.  Also unless the cacti is huge they don't seem to produce a whole lot in comparison to say dragonfruit, you need many to have a decent harvest.  The growth rate of them is quite a bit slower than other cacti as well. S. queretaroensis and S. Stellatus seem to the more popular ones of the genus for commercial growth (and probably taste wise). 

nullzero

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Re: Why Pitaya (organ pipe cactus fruit) is so expensive
« Reply #4 on: September 18, 2023, 02:49:32 AM »
You have to taste fresh S. queretaroensis to see why. The poor shelf life, limited season between May to July depending on year, and potential for crop failure is high. The monsoon rains coming to soon during the final ripening can ruin crop.

The flavor is more fruity and sweet intensity compared to dragon fruit. The texture is like a dragon fruit mixed with a ripe fig. It's syrupy sweet with intense berry flavors. Some can taste like raspberry jam. This was my experience with them at least from the plants producing in Southern Zacatecas.

This cactus is worth the trouble to grow. I can see potential in interior warm areas 9B or higher of Southern CA, Southern Nevada, and Southern Arizona.

It can take a while to fruit from seed 7 years or more. Mature cuttings are hard to source. I am 5 years in from ones grown from seeds.

My largest surviving is a seedling from a large orange fruit which was the sweetest of the fruits I tried. I am hoping in the next 2 years I can get it to flower.
« Last Edit: September 18, 2023, 02:51:34 AM by nullzero »
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K-Rimes

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Re: Why Pitaya (organ pipe cactus fruit) is so expensive
« Reply #5 on: September 18, 2023, 12:56:51 PM »
Really hoping to encounter seeds or cuttings at some point.

Bush2Beach

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Re: Why Pitaya (organ pipe cactus fruit) is so expensive
« Reply #6 on: September 18, 2023, 02:32:48 PM »

I gave away all the seedling from that batch 5 years ago.
Glacially slow in Santa Cruz. They were still 2-3" tall after 3 years.
Thanks for bringing them in though, only time I have seen them available.


You have to taste fresh S. queretaroensis to see why. The poor shelf life, limited season between May to July depending on year, and potential for crop failure is high. The monsoon rains coming to soon during the final ripening can ruin crop.

The flavor is more fruity and sweet intensity compared to dragon fruit. The texture is like a dragon fruit mixed with a ripe fig. It's syrupy sweet with intense berry flavors. Some can taste like raspberry jam. This was my experience with them at least from the plants producing in Southern Zacatecas.

This cactus is worth the trouble to grow. I can see potential in interior warm areas 9B or higher of Southern CA, Southern Nevada, and Southern Arizona.

It can take a while to fruit from seed 7 years or more. Mature cuttings are hard to source. I am 5 years in from ones grown from seeds.

My largest surviving is a seedling from a large orange fruit which was the sweetest of the fruits I tried. I am hoping in the next 2 years I can get it to flower.

NateTheGreat

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Re: Why Pitaya (organ pipe cactus fruit) is so expensive
« Reply #7 on: September 18, 2023, 04:57:02 PM »
Seeds are available. I imported some different Stenocereus species from European sellers. Some are on eBay from US sellers, more expensive than from Europe. A small lots permit takes maybe an hour to figure out, is all online, free, and gets approved instantly. I have a lot of pruinosus seeds I collected from the fruit I bought. I can send you some Kevin.

https://www.succseed.com/en/seeds-cacti/stenocereus/
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1qsuv_ikbFQ1yjJWdTYCtcRrVcSvalUWd/view

I think S. pruinosus is the most common commercially, not sure why S. queretaroensis seems to get touted more. S. stellatus is grown alongside pruinosus, Queretaroensis is more to the north. This guy has multiple videos showing pruinosus and stellatus being cultivated: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RQ9UlZYJq3c (remember youtube can translate for you)

I did some research, but never really found anything about any one species having superior fruit, or better cold tolerance. There are differences with regards to growing season, one grows during the dry season and one during the wet, something like that. My theory is there are about three groups of columnar Stenocereus species, with different areas of Mexico having local species of these: stellatus-like, pruinosus-like, and queretaroensis-like. In the Puebla area, seemingly the main commercial growing area--and the area where they've been most domesticated--pruinosus and stellatus are native. To the west it's Chrysocarpus, Quevedonis, and Fricii. Not scientific, but to me Chrysocarpus looks a lot like Queretaroensis, montanus, and martineziii (grayish green, black areoles, mostly spineless with age), quevedonis looks like stellatus and treleasei (bumpy ribs, pink flowers), and fricii looks like pruinosus, griseus, laevigatus, huastecorum, and maybe chacalapensis, aragonii, fimbriatus, and eichlamii. Thurberi doesn't really fit with any. From pictures alone it can be very hard to tell them apart. I bought some "S. pruinosus" seeds collected in Queretaro state, which makes it very likely they're technically S. queretaroensis, since S. huastecorum--the local version of S. pruinosus now that it's been split into four species--doesn't grow on that side of the mountains. And queretaroensis is one of the more distinct... But look at pictures of stenocereus from that area on iNaturalist and there's discussions about whether they're actually huastecorum based on looks, but the conclusion from the experts is they have to be queretaroensis based on the side of the mountains they're on...

It also seems like mostly people grow orchards of the local species, not spreading pruinosus or stellatus clones around the country. If pruinosus/queretaroensis/whatever were significantly better, I'd think they'd be growing those all over Mexico. There are reported to be some better ones growing in villages where the people have been selecting for the fruit to various degrees for centuries, and the big orchards (mainly in Puebla state?) have some selected clones they're growing. I think these are mainly pruinosus and stellatus.

I've started seeds of around a dozen types. Very slow growing so far, but I bought a S. huastecorum (?) around two feet tall, and it's put on maybe six inches since I bought it this spring. And it hasn't even been a that warm this summer. S. pruinosus is reported to be a fast-growing rootstock. http://www.kadasgardens.com/Cgraftingstocks.html

The guy at the nursery recommended Pachycereus hollianus for fruit, so I got one of those too. He seemed lukewarm on Peruvian Apple Cactus for fruit. Trichocereus 'Flying Saucer' is said to have very good fruit, and would probably would be better for my climate.

Also worth mentioning, in my research I found some reports of Stellatus growing really well in New Orleans.

Alippincott

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Re: Why Pitaya (organ pipe cactus fruit) is so expensive
« Reply #8 on: September 18, 2023, 08:32:12 PM »
Looking at that video, those workers must have leather hard skin on their hands. I am such a baby around cacti when I get the tiniest of spines in between my fingers.

nullzero

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Re: Why Pitaya (organ pipe cactus fruit) is so expensive
« Reply #9 on: September 18, 2023, 08:52:04 PM »

I gave away all the seedling from that batch 5 years ago.
Glacially slow in Santa Cruz. They were still 2-3" tall after 3 years.
Thanks for bringing them in though, only time I have seen them available.


You have to taste fresh S. queretaroensis to see why. The poor shelf life, limited season between May to July depending on year, and potential for crop failure is high. The monsoon rains coming to soon during the final ripening can ruin crop.

The flavor is more fruity and sweet intensity compared to dragon fruit. The texture is like a dragon fruit mixed with a ripe fig. It's syrupy sweet with intense berry flavors. Some can taste like raspberry jam. This was my experience with them at least from the plants producing in Southern Zacatecas.

This cactus is worth the trouble to grow. I can see potential in interior warm areas 9B or higher of Southern CA, Southern Nevada, and Southern Arizona.

It can take a while to fruit from seed 7 years or more. Mature cuttings are hard to source. I am 5 years in from ones grown from seeds.

My largest surviving is a seedling from a large orange fruit which was the sweetest of the fruits I tried. I am hoping in the next 2 years I can get it to flower.

I would try grafting to dragon fruit, Cereus sp., or Echinopsis sp. To see how it would respond. Currently I have about 10 seedlings left between CA and FL. They are slow here in southern CA only putting on good growth during July and August. In Florida puts on nice growth from May to October.

It likes temps in the 90s with full sun and nights in the 80s to really grow fast. Does not mind humidity as long as the root zone is not sitting in water for long and it's warm above 70f.

Central and Northen coastal CA does not have enough heat units to really push the plants. Fresno would be the northern range possibly protected to get a chance at a crop.
Grow mainly fruits, vegetables, and herbs.

Pitacereus

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Re: Why Pitaya (organ pipe cactus fruit) is so expensive
« Reply #10 on: October 15, 2023, 12:17:58 PM »
I live in Southern Ca. Inland Empire, I have 10 queretaroensis seedlings that I was lucky enough to buy from nullzero, 4 yrs ago which I believe were 1 year old when purchased,  so at 5 years old now, the seedlings are all about 4 feet tall and looking great.
I have several more from seeds that I sprouted, I also got those seeds from nullzero and at less than 4 years old, those are also 4 feet tall with one of those 2" shy of 5 feet from soil line. All seedlings are on their own roots, in 15gal pots and never grafted. Thanks null!





nullzero

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Re: Why Pitaya (organ pipe cactus fruit) is so expensive
« Reply #11 on: October 15, 2023, 11:27:34 PM »
It is great to see a update photo. You are taking care of them nicely. You may get fruit before me. My largest on its own roots is 3ft tall. I had some seedlings in clay pots on autopilot in FL.

Over here in CA I have more coastal influence and my inground seedlings are in part sun. I may reconfigure my plantings to see if I can get them in a full sun spot to speed up.

What type of low temps have your plants encountered?
Grow mainly fruits, vegetables, and herbs.

Pitacereus

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Re: Why Pitaya (organ pipe cactus fruit) is so expensive
« Reply #12 on: October 16, 2023, 11:08:18 AM »
The low temps here are a bit brutal. I get 10-15 days straight with 28F in the morning and about 10-15 days through the winter season that it drops down to 24-25F. So far, I've always covered the tips, only on the nights that it drops down to below 26F. 2 years ago, I did forget to cover them once and the tips got damaged. They recovered and eventually started growing again but took some time to recover. To date, the damage is still visible. On a good note, this year I started getting some nice little pups on some of the seedlings.

K-Rimes

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Re: Why Pitaya (organ pipe cactus fruit) is so expensive
« Reply #13 on: October 16, 2023, 01:23:10 PM »
I live in Southern Ca. Inland Empire, I have 10 queretaroensis seedlings that I was lucky enough to buy from nullzero, 4 yrs ago which I believe were 1 year old when purchased,  so at 5 years old now, the seedlings are all about 4 feet tall and looking great.
I have several more from seeds that I sprouted, I also got those seeds from nullzero and at less than 4 years old, those are also 4 feet tall with one of those 2" shy of 5 feet from soil line. All seedlings are on their own roots, in 15gal pots and never grafted. Thanks null!





Wow, those look awesome. I bought some small seedlings off Etsy recently, I hope they turn out to be the real deal. If anyone has seedlings they'd be willing to spare, or could even just post some photos of what they look like at 3-4" that would be helpful.

Pitacereus

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Re: Why Pitaya (organ pipe cactus fruit) is so expensive
« Reply #14 on: October 16, 2023, 02:52:58 PM »
Thank you!

Here are a couple of pictures of the last seeds I sprouted, hope they help. The one in the red cup was about 3-4" when i took the picture, the other two images, the seedlings are about 6-7" currently.







SDPirate

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Re: Why Pitaya (organ pipe cactus fruit) is so expensive
« Reply #15 on: October 16, 2023, 09:42:28 PM »
I may have some Pruinosus and Thurberi seedlings to give away in a year or so.  I have a Chacalapensis probably about 5 or 6 inches tall now,  got a nice growth spurt during summer.  Seems to even be outpacing the Griseus and Pruinosus that were similar size right next to it.




Pouteria_fan

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Re: Why Pitaya (organ pipe cactus fruit) is so expensive
« Reply #16 on: October 19, 2023, 12:47:42 AM »
There's a guy in Long Beach growing them...lots of posts on Instagram.

 

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