Confusion Over Acai Does Not Mute Market
Proponents swear by fruit's healing powers, but science remains skeptical.
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Click HERE for a slide show of how acai is produced, from harvest to market.
The scenes along the Amazon were unforgettable: grown men shimmying up huge palm trees in search of what has become the most-sought-after new food in the world.
"This is the skinny palms, you know; the black fruit there is the acai," said Monteiro.
The trees do not grow big and thick like the palm trees most people know.
Acai grows in the wild in clusters at the top of the skinny palm trees. It's bigger than a blueberry, smaller than a grape. People call it a berry, but it has just one seed ... so it's actually a fruit.
It's like a rock to bite.
"Actually, you need to take off the skin, and the skin makes the puree or the pulp we mix with water," Monteiro said. "It has kind of a coconut inside."