Cairo’s fruit and vegetable vendors have begun selling one of their most popular summer fruits, barbary figs. The fruit is also known by several other names such as prickly pear, cactus pear and also teen shoky. It is a specific kind of cactus, native to Mexico, that is also grown in other places around the world, including Egypt and North America.
In Egypt, barbary figs are grown predominantly in and around Minya, a rural province about 300 kilometres south of Cairo, because of its hot, dry weather. The area’s farmers wait for the fig’s harvest season all year, because of the high yield and relatively low maintenance required.
Every day, the figs make their way to Cairo and Egypt’s other major cities on large lorries that leave Minya and other provinces such as Qalyubia and unload at various fruit distribution points.