Just the other day I saw an advertisement for açaí (pronounced ah-sigh-EE) vodka, so it came with great pleasure to read Seth Kugel’s write up of the fastly expanding açaí industry in the Brazilian state of Para (Açaí, a Global Super Fruit, Is Dinner in the Amazon – NYTimes.com). Kugel writes that “a bowl of açaí pulp is a filling side dish especially valued by poorer families.” Yet, because the rest of the world has been buying up the berry for use in things like Red Brick’s Whole Wheat Pizza Crust, Snapple Tea, Energy Drinks, ice cream, smoothies, and dietary supplements the price has more than tripled, nearly shutting the traditional consumer out of the market. In Para, sales of “açaí pulp surged from 380 metric tons in 2000 to 1,700 metric tons in 2005 — to 9,400 metric tons last year,” according to the article.
Writer and photographer Nicholas Gill is the editor/publisher of New World Review. He lives in Lima, Peru and Brooklyn, New York. His work has appeared in publications such as the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, CondeNast Traveler, National Geographic Traveler, Afar, and Penthouse. Visit his personal website (nicholas-gill.com) for more information.