Amazon Trip 2014: Part 3 of 3

A boat ride up the Amazon River can be adventurous enough.  It is an entirely different experience when you cram 30 hammocks in a space that can comfortably fit 15 and then have 2-3 people per hammock.

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This would be our ferry ride.  9 hours later, we arrived in Limão do Curuá, deep in the heart of the Amazon Rainforest.

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It was here we would meet up with the Whole Foods team member volunteers who had been helping finish the construction of a new school in the community.  They also built an amazing vegetable garden on stilts to accommodate the rivers tides.  This brought the concept of raised garden beds to a whole new level.  Every year, Sambazon sets aside % of the cost of fruit it purchases from family farmers.  Those funds are then put back into those communities most in need of things like construction and repairs schools and medical clinics, in addition to donated items.

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Access to clean drinking water can also be a challenge for many of these remote communities.  In partnership with Waves for Water, we distributed clean water filters to many of the families.

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Our last day in Limão do Curuá would find us putting the finishing touches on the school project just in time for its inauguration that afternoon.  Everyone from the community was in attendance and the mayor even flew in for the ceremonies.  That night we celebrated with a Brazilian feast thanks to our hosts and prepared for the 10pm departure and our 9 hour river boat ride back to Macapa.

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It was such an honor to experience an entirely new culture and way of life while giving back to the families and farmers who make Sambazon possible.  Any barriers of language were easily overcome by a shared sense of humanity, kindness and passion for life.  Travel to far away places, especially those not as developed as our own, always makes me return with a new frame of reference on life and the things that matter most, or rather that the things that matter most are usually not things.

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Amazon Trip 2014: Part 1 of 3

Rio de Janeiro

It was açaí that inspired our founders to start Sambazon nearly 15 years ago.  This unique purple berry has a rich history in Brazil. As you can see in our most recent video, takes an inspiring journey from the Amazon Rainforest.

Every year we travel back to Brazil and up to the Amazon with a group of friends to share the experience of a region and berry that has been the inspiration and guiding light for our sustainable business practices.  These trips allow people to see how we translate Amazon Superfoods into delicious organic products, meet the wonderful family farmers who earn a living from our market driven conservation model and help give back to the communities that shepherd this special place. This year we traveled with a passionate group of Whole Foods team members who volunteered their time to help us finish the construction of a new school that we were building in the village community of Limão do Curuá.

I was fortunate enough to travel along with the talented Scott Sporleder to capture Brazil’s scenery, its vibrancy, flavors, people and organic approach to health and vitality.

It all begins in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil’s second largest city and where açaí was first popularized on the beaches and in the juice shops throughout the city.

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In Rio, açaí is served in smoothies and traditional bowls blended from frozen puree and other fruits. This is different than the villages of the Amazon where indigenous cultures have been eating açaí for centuries.  Here, they use the fruit to make unsweetened thick sauces with an earthy flavor and often combine it with manioc flour to sprinkle on fresh fish.

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We spent the day capturing some of iconic sites of Rio.  First, we headed to Lapa to check out the Escadaria Selarón, a set of world-famous steps that are the work of Chilean-born artist Jorge Selarón who claimed the work of art as “my tribute to the Brazilian people”. The 250 steps, straddling both the Lapa and Santa Teresa neighborhoods, are covered in some 2000 tiles collected from over 60 countries around the world.

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 Rio has such a distinct and unique topography.  It has so many pockets of concrete neighborhoods and city centers broken up by towering monolithic granite peaks, valleys, bays, beach coastlines and the infamous favelas running up along the hillsides.

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After Lapa, we headed across Rio to Guanabara Bay to check out Sugarloaf Mountain (Pão de Açúcar).   Sugarloaf is one of several monolithic granite and quartz mountains that dot the city.  Sugarload has a cableway allowing you to access its summit and see 360-degree views of the surrounding city, bay and Atlantic Ocean.

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Finally, a visit to Rio wouldn’t be complete without experiencing the vibrancy of Ipanema Beach located in the south zone of Rio and adjacent to the well known Copacabana.  With its beach goers and iconic mosaic sidewalk we finished our day watching a legendary sunset behind Two Brothers (Dois Irmãos).

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Acai Journey – Video Sneak Peek!

Samabzon acai grows on 40-foot tall palm trees in the Amazon Rainforest copy

It was nearly 15 years ago since we first started bringing acai from the heart of the Brazilian Amazon to the World.  Our latest video traces the journey acai takes from atop 40’ palms in the Rainforest to the palm of your hand by way of our organic fresh juices and frozen goods. The 6 chapters of the video will be revealed this month on Instagram or you can watch the whole thing right now!

Follow acai from the source, along the banks of the Brazilian Amazon River where this potent purple berry has been wild-harvested for centuries by local family farmers.  See how it is loaded into hand woven baskets and then hitches a ride down the river to Sambazons state of the art facility where it is washed, puréed and frozen – all within hours of being picked, ensuring the freshest acai on the planet.

Acai is packed with powerful anitoxidants and healthy omegas

From there it is crafted into the highest quality, most delicious acai products around. That’s good, fresh news for all the acai addicts out there.

I'm just here for the Sambazon acai

Bonus mind-expansion: Learn how to make an acai bowl with this infographic!

Sambazon Takeover – ColorfulFoodie

Sambazon Takeover - colorfulfoodie

This is Ana from @ColorfulFoodie and I am so excited to takeover the Sambazon Instagram account for the next few days! I am Brazilian and grew up on acai so it is only natural to use Sambazon in my beautiful, nutritious and delicious creations.

Ana from colorfulfoodie

As a healthcare professional I am an advocate of counting colors, not calories. I choose not to restrict myself, but rather love all foods in moderation.

My passion for cooking came from the best cook I know: my grandmother. And my creative intuition (to make everything look beautiful) comes from my mother who was a professional porcelain and oil on canvas artist! But I did not even start cooking until about 2 years ago when I got married and my husband inspired me to elevate everyday dishes to the current Colorful Foodie status.

The beautiful Ana from Instagram's colorfulfoodie

 

I even call myself a recipe “skinnyfier” because I keep my dishes healthy, colorful, fun and magically inviting.

Be sure to visit me on Instagram when you’re craving something colorful. XOXO

National Farmer’s Market Week: August 4-10th

 

Everyone’s first farmer’s market experience is a little bit the same. You arrive early one Sunday morning, not expecting much more than an offering of cactus jellys and food trucks. And are soon in awe over the abundant selection of seasonal fresh produce and small business venders lining the courtyard.

Two hours later, you’re on your way home with a huge stash of organic, locally grown and harvested fresh produce already excited for next week’s unknown bounty.

The week of August 4-10th is National Farmer’s Market week! Celebrate with us and shop at your local farmer’s market to test out some new produce in exciting recipes.

Here are a few of recipes we created from our recent adventure to the Farmer’s Market: click below for the recipes!

Green’s Smoothie

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Frozen Açaí Cream Pie

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Tart Cherry Bowl

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Peaches n’ Blue Smoothie

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Here today…gone to the farmer’s market!

 

Sambazon Summer Instagram Contest

Sambazon Summer Instagram Contest

Summer is a time for road trips, BBQs, surfing, campfires and getting your Tribe together. To celebrate the last month of summer, each week in August one lucky person* will win:

Entering is easy. All you have to do is repost our “Sambazon Summer” Instagram posts each week using #SambazonSummer and follow @sambazon. Don’t forget to make your profile public so we can see your repost.

We’ll announce the winner on Instagram and Twitter every Monday, so make sure to follow us. Boa sorte!

 

*Open to residents of the lower 48 United States who are at least 18 years old as of the date of entry. Residents of Hawaii and Alaska and are excluded due to shipping considerations.

Sambazon Acai Purple Love Kit

Sambazon Acai Purple Love KitThe Sambazon Acai Purple Love Kit is essential for the acai enthusiast. You’ll get:

  • A sustainably harvested acacia wood Sambazon bowl and spoon. It is the ultimate acai bowl vessel that keeps your hands warm while your acai stays frosty.
  • An etched, reclaimed glass perfect for cold Sambazon Freshies and fresh blended smoothies.
  • A Sambazon Kitchen recipe book filled with recipes, tips and general mind-expanding knowledge for you.
  • An acai seed bracelet, hand-made in Brazil.

We are randomly hooking people up with these every Tuesday! Be sure to tag your pictures #sambazon so we can see what you’re posting.

World Bowl Winners!

Congratulations to Gina from GranolaBitch, our 2014 WORLD BOWL recipe contest winner!

World Bowl 2014 Winner!

She is getting a year supply of Sambazon and a new Olympus camera!!

Sambazon World Cup Prizes

Congrats to all the other winners as well! They are some seriously amazing people who created artful and inspiring acai bowl recipes. Read a little more about each of them below.

The World Bowl Finalists  |  Sambazon

The Greece inspired acai bowl recipe was created by Sophia from Veggies Don’t Bite. Her passion is living a vegan, gluten free and refined sugar free life 90% of the time because “you don’t have to be perfect to make healthy choices.”

Greece-inspired Acai Bowl

The USA Melting Pot Acai was created by Jecka from Bright Greys. Her passions are graphic design, style & beauty, DIY and food!

USA Melting Pot Acai Bowl

The From Russia With Love acai bowl was created by Ksenia from Breakfast Criminals, whose passion is recipes of superfood breakfasts, clean living, positive vibes, and heart bowls.

From Russia With Love Acai Bowl

Heather made this super creative Algerian Flag Açaí Bowl with pistachios and cherries!

Algerian Flag Acai Bowl with pistachios and cherries

The Brazil Nut Butter Acai Bowl was created by Kathy from The Lunchbox Bunch, whose passion is healthy happy living, sunshine, farmer’s markets, travel, smoothies and all things cozy, lovely and inspiring.

Brazil Nut Butter Acai Bowl

They are each receiving a Purple Love kit that includes an etched glass, wood bowl + spoon, acai seed bracelet, and a Sambazon Kitchen recipe book.

I cannot fully express my gratitude to everyone who participated. Have a beautiful day!

Tips for Awesome Food Photography

Tips for Awesome Food Photography | Sambazon

When shooting pictures for your acai bowl recipes to be entered into the World Bowl Recipe + Photo Contest this June-July 2014, here are some of our favorite helpful tips for food photography.

#1 LOOKS MATTER

Tips for Awesome Food Photography #1: Looks matter

Make sure you choose the best looking food to feature in your photographs.  If you’re getting into it like a food stylist, you will want to go through a whole box of berries to find the perfect specimen or examine each peach in the bin to find the perfect peachy-ness. Sometimes the choice is not as obvious as the oranges above, so inspect each option closely.

#2 LIGHTING IS EVERYTHING

Tips for Awesome Food Photography #2: Lighting is everything | Sambazon

Using the right lighting in your shot is important to show texture and make the food look as mouth-watering as possible. We usually opt for indirect natural light, which can be found during the “Golden Hour”  – the hour after sunrise and before sunset when the light has a rich, golden color that brings out vivid colors when photographed.  When shooting with natural light, make sure you are prepped and ready to snap your shot because the light can quickly change as the sun moves.

#3 ACCESSORIZE

Tips for Awesome Food Photography #3 Accessorize | Sambazon

Props like bowls, spoons and raw ingredients add interesting colors and textures to your shots. Use simple dish-ware without patterns to avoid competing with the food for center stage.

#4 MIST-IFY

Tips for Awesome Food Photography #4 Mist-ify | Sambazon

To make fruits and vegetables glisten, brush them with a bit of olive oil, or mist them with water. It will make them seem freshly picked from a dew-covered tree. Hashtag morning dew.

#5 HAVE A BITE THEN RESHOOT

Tips for Awesome Food Photography #5 Take a bite | Sambazon

Once you have the shot that you want, enjoy a bite then take another shot.  When a shot is too perfect it can look overly composed and artificial. Plus, when you’re shooting acai bowls it lets a peek of purple show through!

#6 WORK THE ANGLES

Tips for Awesome Food Photography #6 Work the Angles | Sambazon

Move down to plate level or just above it to get a different angle.  Getting low can bring out different features of the shot you may not appreciate from the normal position, as well as variations in texture and color.  Use your lens and move the camera to get closer to the food.  Try moving around the dish to get different angles.

Getting really close to your subject matter highlight the ingredients and focuses attention exclusively on the food.

#7 APP TIME

Tips for Awesome Food Photography #7 App Time | Sambazon

If you are taking photos with a smart phone, apps can help improve the quality of your picture. We like Camera+, Snapseed, VSCO and even Instagram’s new Creative Tools make it super easy to edit + post all in one place.

#8 BOKEH

Tips for Awesome Food Photography #8 Bokeh | Sambazon

Bokeh (pronounced BOH-kay) is the pleasing or aesthetic quality of out-of-focus blur in a photograph. This can be used to highlight specific ingredients like the cacao nibs in the photograph above.  If you have access to a camera with a fast lens, such as f2.8 or wider, you can create bokeh. In order to get the lens wide open, use the Aperture Priority or Manual-shooting mode. Manual gives you the ability to choose both your aperture and shutter speed, whereas Aperture Priority will allow you to choose the f/stop while the camera chooses the appropriate shutter speed for the exposure.

If you don’t own a fast prime lens you can increase the chances of bokeh by increasing the distance between your subject and the background, and decreasing the distance between your camera and the food you are shooting.

The Sambazon World Bowl Recipe + Photo Contest

Well there you have it! Some of our favorite tips when we’re shooting tasty acai bowls for as long as we can bear to wait before devouring them. We can’t wait to drool over your photo entries for the World Bowl Recipe + Photo Contest.

Learn more about the World Bowl Recipe + Photo Contest and get some inspiration from recent entries.