¡CACTUS! Organic Cactus Water is a labor of love. It has to be. After spending time in the beverage industry and seeing its challenges up close, I always said anyone who wanted to start a beverage company would have to be kind of crazy. That was before I was re-introduced to “Nopalitos,” made from the edible paddles of the Nopal “prickly pear” cactus, that are packed with all kinds of goodness. So, crazy or not, I decided to create my kind of beverage company – one that is fun and can potentially provide some helpful benefits.
It all started when my mom asked me to come back home to Napa Valley, California, to start an organic family farm. A worker suggested we harvest the paddles growing wild on our farm because of their popularity with the Latinx market. Growing up, I knew what Nopales were and ate them, but never knew about their history or healthy benefits. I began to research them and spoke to family and friends familiar with this particular cactus. When I found out how much goodness was packed inside the paddles, I began to incorporate them into my life. Within two weeks, the eczema that plagued me my whole life began to clear up and my digestion felt better than ever. I became driven to learn as much as I could about this ancient plant and spent hours exploring its nutritional marvel, moved by the many studies about its benefits and rich background.
I also spent hours skinning the cactus paddles – with the scars to prove it – and started selling them at local farmers markets. People went bonkers for them and I heard story after story about how eating the paddles were positively affecting their lives. Many of my customers were juicing them and the idea of starting a beverage company started to blossom.
In late 2017 I launched “Green-Go” organic cactus water—an unsweetened water powered by juice from the Nopal cactus paddle. Green-Go generated nice press and distribution, but (always learning) by the beginning of 2019 I felt that the upside would be greater with a reformulation and a rebrand.
I started with the product. After much research and taste testing, I moved from one unsweetened, zero-calorie cactus water in aseptic cardboard to three popular organic flavors, each lightly sweetened with organic agave (5g sugar, 30 calories) and packaged in 12-ounce recyclable sleek cans. And I changed the brand name to ¡CACTUS! to more directly convey that our product is cactus water—important given the multitude of beverage products on store shelves.
We entered 2020 with a new formulation, better taste, three flavor choices and a more direct brand name – all while maintaining the goodness of organic cactus water. Just like a cactus being able to survive some of the harshest elements on earth, our company survived 2020 and we are stronger because of it.
While there are many plant-based hydration beverages to choose from I sure hope you’ll give ¡CACTUS! a try!
The very best of health to you and thank you for being on this journey with us!
Owner, Founder, Farmer, Cactus Whisperer
PS: I usually don’t look as glamorous as this “pageant” photo of me! Most of the time you’ll find me in overalls and a trucker’s hat. We still farm, although these days we grow lavender to keep the honeybees happy and milkweed, which endangered Monarch butterflies love.