Acaiberries (pronounced ah-sigh-ee) are the fruit of a palm tree (Euterpe oleracea) that grows in flood plains of the Amazon basin.
Acai berries are quite small, with a diameter of just 1-2 centimetres, only about 10 per cent of which is the edible skin and pulp. Nevertheless, these tiny berries are highly nutritious, and have been a staple part of the Brazilian diet for centuries. In fact, their discovery is the stuff of legend.
The story goes that long, long ago in Brazil, a village at the edge of the Pará River was going through tough times. The population expanded and expanded until there wasn’t enough food available to sustain all the people. Sadly, the village chief decreed that in order to ensure there was enough food for everyone, all newborn babies would be sacrificed.
Soon afterwards, the chief’s own daughter, Iaça, gave birth to a baby girl, and, although heartbroken, the chief ordered that like all other newborns, his granddaughter would be sacrificed.
Iaça was devastated and cried day and night, going for long days without food or drink and not leaving her house at all. Then one night, she heard the sound of a baby crying in the forest, and wandered into the jungle looking for her lost daughter.
The chief woke up the next morning to the news that his daughter was missing, and quickly organised a search party. They found Iaça dead, with a smile on her face, underneath a palm tree laden with dark purple fruit. In gratitude for their new food source, the people named the berries Acai, which is Iaça’s name, spelled backwards.
The village prospered after the discovery of the acai berries, and some people believe that it went on to become the city of Belém in the Brazilian state of Pará.
We don’t know if the legend is true or not, but we do know that the acai berries that grow in the Belém region are among the highest quality commercially available – that’s why we source our berries there!
RioLife’s packing and processing plant is located in the same region, allowing our organic acai berries to be freeze-dried as quickly as possible after they’re sustainably harvested under Fairtrade conditions. This allows our premium acai products to retain the precious nutritional properties of the berries themselves, which include an abundance of antioxidants, a rich content of important fatty acids, and valuable fibre.