One of the best things about harvesting the Acai Berry is it not only exponentially increases the annual income for many native Amazon families, it actually protects the trees as well by encouraging locals to protect their income source instead of chopping them down for wood or palm hearts.
Acai Berries grow on palm trees called the Acai Palm in the Amazon Rainforest of Brazil. These towering palm trees can grow upwards of 25 meters (82 feet). The top of the thin, long trunk is topped with typical looking leafy palm branches.
Two times each year these branches become full of small, dark purple berries and accounts for a large part of the native diet. In some regions the Berry actually makes up about 40% of their daily food intake.
Traditionally, these berries are harvested by brave Amazon natives shimmying up the trees and cutting the branches. Today, these extremely healthy berries are mass produced by small villages of local farmers.
Due to its very short lifespan after harvesting (only 24 hours), Acai Berries must be quickly put into baskets, loaded onto Amazon river boats, and shipped to the local markets and processing plants as quickly as possible.
Processing & Packaging
The Acai fruit or “pulp” only makes up a small portion of the actual berry (90% of the Acai Berry is seed), the pulp is separated from its seed which produces a thick, edible, puree.
It must be quickly flash frozen or pasteurized during this process to preserve the health benefits of the berry which quickly diminish after harvesting. After the initial processing the puree may be consumed as pulp, juice, or freeze dried into powder form.
As the Acai Berry grows in popularity for its health benefits, it is being used more frequently in juice blends and smoothies. In fact, it is taking over “wheat grass” as the health shot of choice in many popular juice bars.
In Brazil, Acai Berries are often served in a dish made with tapioca called “cuias” or mixed with granola and served cold in a dish called “acai na tigela” which means “acai in the bowl.”
As the popularity of the Acai skyrockets in countries such as the United States and Canada, large companies buy acai berry to use them in products raging from capsules, to powders, to juices.
Because of the extremely fast circumstances and care these berries must be packaged under to preserve their integrity and health benefits, quality Acai isn’t cheap.
Beware of companies offering “Shipping Cost Only” Acai. As with all health supplements they are not FDA regulated and a cheaply produced product will fail to yield little if any actual health benefit. See our Scam Warning page to learn more!
Learn about the harvesting process and how it benefits the local people and the planet!