Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Berry Good News

What’s purplish-black and green all over?

It’s the açaí (say “ah-SIGH-ee”) berry, a true superfood. Açaí has way more antioxidants than blueberries or pomegranates, it’s rich in omega fatty acids, fiber and vitamins, and it’s delicious: imagine a chocolate-flavored plum or wine with a chocolate infusion.

The berry is “green” only in the ecological sense, since it may help save some of the Amazon rain forest, where it grows in bunches on palm trees. Harvesting açaí has become an economic alternative to forest-destroying industries like logging and cattle, and it provides jobs for the impoverished local residents.

An American surfer who tasted açaí in Brazil introduced it to the US in 2000. The berries aren’t eaten as snacks, but their pulp is used in drinks and other dishes. Want a taste? Andrew Pudalov serves açaí smoothies and “bowls” —dishes that combine it with natural ingredients like yogurt and honey— in Rush, his two Boulder, Colorado shops. He’ll overnight ship frozen bowls or packs of açaí for blending your own smoothies. (Go to, or call 303-532-7315.)

Photographed above is one of Rush's delicious açaí bowls.