In Fresno? Why in Fresno?
The U.S. Department of Agriculture keeps an Opuntia collection near Fresno, a genetic library and public lending pool for breeders and growers. Curator Gabriela Romano oversees the 250-plus species and varieties that grow here.
She has tasted all their fruits, and above all others she prefers the elongated, yellow fruits of ficus-indica for eating fresh; dark red varieties of the species are best for rendering into a juice rich in antioxidants.