I have been obsessed with super foods for the better part of two decades… and it has led me on some interesting adventures!
Back in 2016 I went to Peru to learn more about Camu Camu berry – an amazing super food berry that can boost your body’s natural defences and promote collagen production.
Antonio was my guide, a gentle native Peruvian who doesn’t speak a word of English but has been my trusted link to the traditional farmers of the region for almost 10 years now (all our Maca varieties also come from Peru).
In order to see Camu Camu growing in the wild we had to take a small plane from Lima to Pucallpa and then a taxi to the wharf. We found a boat operator with a motorised canoe who was willing to take us into the Amazon.
Above is a picture of our trusty canoe just before we took off deep into the Amazon.
As it was the middle of summer, we set off first thing in the morning to avoid being stuck in the boat in the heat of the day without any shade.
It was a 4 hour slow, beautiful journey along the Amazon river which spanned 70m or so across. Thick tropical jungle lined either side of the river. We passed the occasional boat and everyone waved at each other as is customary on a boat for some reason. We relaxed in the canoe and enjoyed the trip.
As my day had started in the middle of the night I was rather tired and I was quickly rocked to sleep by the gentle flow of the river. Each time I woke up and looked around, the boat driver was smiling at me with kind, friendly eyes.
Then at some point I awoke from my slumber because everything had gone silent, there was no sound of the boat engine. I assumed we must have arrived at our destination.
When I turned around and look at the boat driver he wasn’t smiling anymore. His face was pale and he was talking frantically in Spanish to Antonio and then the colour started to drain out of Antonio’s face as well. You could hear the panic in their voices.
I asked him what the problem was. It turns out half the motor had dropped off into the water. Not to worry I said in my broken Spanish, let’s use the oars to get to the bank and see if we can get some phone reception on a hill.
Turns out the one thing we forgot to bring was oars and so we began to just to drift wherever the river decided to take us – and the sun was rising quickly and the heat was quickly becoming unbearable (and we had no shelter and just a small bottle of water each).
Almost an hour later we were still drifting aimlessly down the Amazon River. Now that it was getting to the heat of the day, there were very few boats passing us by.
Eventually we saw one boat on the other side of the river. We waved desperately trying to grab their attention to get some help… they waved back and smiled – and then continued their journey.
I said to Antonio, we have to get to the bank and try to get phone reception. Then we can call someone to come with the part we need to get our motor up and running again. We had nothing we could use as oars and I was the only one in the boat who could swim.
I asked Antonio, is it ok to swim here? Both he and the boat driver agreed here it was “no peligroso” (not dangerous). So I took off my top and jumped in the water. I tied the mooring rope around my waist and began to pull the boat, all our possessions and the 4 people on board to the side of the river.
We eventually got there and climbed up a hill to higher ground. We pulled out our phones but still we couldn’t get a single bar of reception.
We decided the other side of the bank would be far better, so everyone got back in the boat and I towed it to the other side. Once we got to the order side we noticed a small hut and the boat driver went to look to see if there were any people around.
Luckily there were and after some intense negotiations we managed to rent another boat from them. Antonio asked if I wanted to go on or go home… I said we have come this far, might as well finish the mission.
So we got in the boat and continued our journey into the heart of the Amazon. Not long after we arrived at an untouched Amazonian village where they harvest the Camu Camu berries from along the river.
The village was an incredible set of around 50 bamboo huts, all made entirely with resources found in the jungle that surrounded them. The kids all played together and the adults would sing whilst they worked together, it seemed like a beautiful existence.
They took me to to see where the Camu Camu berries were growing and I tried them fresh straight off the tree.
The villagers invited us to stay for lunch and we gratefully accepted as we were starving from our long journey on the river. When we sat down to eat they served us a local fish that seemed to have a lot of razor sharp teeth.
I asked the villagers (Antonio translated from Spanish into their local dialect) “What kind of fish is this?”
“And this Piranha came from the river?”
“The river I was just swimming in for over an hour?”
Needless to say I was relieved when Antonio told me we were going to walk most of the way back to town.
Now that you know that I almost lost a limb to bring you the highest quality Camu Camu… consider keeping it as a staple in your cupboard for when you start to feel a bit under the weather (or take it regularly to promote natural collagen production).
Order Camu Camu here – https://www.forestsuperfoods.com.au/product/organic-camu-camu-powder/