Capital Cactus

Cactus hor d’oeuvres? Jam, jelly,
preserves, all made from cactus? Is it sharp, sticky, prickly, spicy, hot
or sweet? Do you cook it? Do you eat the pulp, the skin, or the entire fruit?
Just as California is home to the garlic capital of the world, the Negev
town of Dimona boasts the final word or taste on cactus.

Prickly on the outside, sweet on the
inside, and popular throughout the world, cactus can be eaten as a fresh
fruit, cooked, or dried like raisins. The color of the fruit ranges from
blood red to orange to yellow — each color has a different taste.

At Orly Farms, you can learn
about the versatile cactus fruit as you taste the terrific variety of condiments
created from this intriguing plant. The shop at Orly Farms has a variety
of cactus products which are produced on-site: cactus juice, pickled cactus,
honey, preserves, jelly, and “hot” spreads.

The cafeteria-style kosher restaurant
serves South American and Mexican-style dishes using cactus as the main ingredient.
The cactus fields grow right up to the restaurant and patrons are welcome
to go out back to see the fruits.

Cactus facts:

  • Cactus fruit and cactus juice reduce
  • Although known
    as a desert plant, cacti actually thrive when watered.
  • The cactus’ “leaf”
    can be broken off the base plant and replanted without first growing roots
    in water.
  • Fruit bearing
    season is July and August.
  • Acidity in the
    cactus is very high in the morning hours, but self-reduces throughout the
    day, until the evening when acidity disappears completely.
  • Although the sabra
    cactus is thought to be native to Israel, the plant was imported from New
    Mexico and Arizona to the Holy Land in the 19th century.

  • tips

    Orly Farms is open daily from 9 AM to 6 PM, call ahead to be sure. Tours
    of the farm by pre-arrangement.


    Between the Negev towns of Dimona and Yerucham on Route 204.

    Tel: 07-655-7084

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