CROP PRODUCTS AND PROCESSING TECHNOLOGY
Both Agaves and Prickly Pears provide a wide array of possible products for producing income. Most of these require some processing which in turn requires the appropriate machinery and technology as well as marketing of the finished products. By putting the technology and marketing in place we are able to fully take advantage of the tremendous energy and production of these amazing plants.
The list of potential products is extensive and includes the following categories either for the Prickly Pear or for the Agaves and some categories include both crops: fresh juice and puree, frozen and freeze dried juices and purees, fermented alcoholic beverages, distilled alcoholic beverages, raw, dried and roasted foodstuffs, seeds, seed oils, natural sweeteners, natural food colorants, natural anti-oxidants and other phyto-nutraceuticals, medicines and the production of naturally derived steroids, high quality fiber for rope, fabric and paper, forage and fodder, firewood, fuel, construction materials, natural fencing and barriers, chemical compounds for soap making,
Of course, for any one of the products within each category that a grower decides to produce, he or she will have to diligently develop the technology, marketing and business relationship to bring the product to the point of sale. This can mean developing your own processing facilities either on or off the farm or developing relationships and arrangements with existing processing companies who already have suitable technology in place. Examples are cold pressed juicing companies, micro distilleries, frozen foods makers, et al.
As these crops become more established into California’s agriculture, more processing options will become available as well as potential opportunities to form cooperatives or other groups. The Olive tree for olive oil has recently reemerged as a strong new crop for California with olive oil presses available in most communities to even the small-scale grower. We see an equally exciting potential of the Prickly pear and the Agave for California.