Feel Good, Do Good

Picking the Purpose Behind First Watch Açaí Partner, SAMBAZON®
and Conservation Partner, Rainforest Trust

There’s a lot to love about açaí. It’s fun to say (try ah-sigh-EE), the flavor is sort of a magical mashup of dark chocolate and raspberry and it’s full of antioxidants and omegas that promote overall health.

This little purple berry is a big superfruit that has long been loved by the indigenous people of Brazil. In fact, Brazil accounts for over 85% of the world’s açaí production, and that includes the fruit we served in season with our Triple Berry Açaí Bowl.

But who helps bring this superfood from the Amazon rainforests to a brunch outing near you? Enter SAMBAZON. Out of the hundreds of fruits found in the Amazon, SAMBAZON has chosen to focus on the most powerful and – over the last 20 years – has become proud purveyors of açaí, ethically sourcing and hand-harvesting each berry to produce a creamy, antioxidant-rich dish that tastes as good as it makes you feel.

This care is one of the many reasons we’ve partnered with SAMBAZON since 2018 and followed the sun for the freshest açaí around, crafted to inspire purple-tinted smiles at breakfast, brunch or lunch – your pick! 

From Palm to Palm: Açaí Harvested Sustainably at the Source

The journey of an açaí berry begins 40 feet in the air, on a palm frond hanging above the banks of the Amazon River, just after the rainy season has passed. From May to December, local farmers brave the heights and climb up the trunks of these tall palm trees to collect stacks upon stacks of “brooms” (palm tree branches where the fruit grows, separate from the fronds or foliage), handpicking berries until every speck of purple is safely secured in their wicker baskets.

Riverboats are used to transport these baskets from the shore straight to one of two SAMBAZON factories located at the mouth of the Amazon River, where each berry is inspected by hand before being processed, when seed is separated from pulp. Since 95% of the berry is seed and only 5% is pulp, SAMBAZON donates 100% of the seeds that would have been wasted in production to later be turned into energy, one way among many it’s acting on its sustainability promise.  

Having been in the business for over two decades, SAMBAZON knows a thing or two about sourcing. They call it their “Palm to Palm” promise, having developed their own supply chain that directly connects with farmers and transparently follows their certified organic açaí from the palm of the tree to the palm of your hand.

The Triple (Berry) Bottom Line

Guided by a triple-bottom-line commitment to people, planet and prosperity, SAMBAZON is as much about giving back and protecting the Amazon’s rich biodiversity as it is to providing a delicious, nutritious food to the world.

After all, its açaí is crafted with care and a higher purpose: to improve the quality of life for the grower communities who follow this berry’s journey from boat to bowl.

In partnership with EcoCert and through the Fair for Life certification, SAMBAZON pays a premium price for the berries these farmers harvest and invests a portion of their annual Açaí purchases towards projects that are proposed by the communities themselves. These Fair Trade Funded projects have supported a broom-full of social needs, such as renovating schools, building libraries and improving literacy and access to healthcare.

For several years, SAMBAZON has partnered with the nonprofit organization Rainforest Trust to help protect 50,000 acres of Amazon rainforest.

To honor this partnership, strengthen this work and preserve critical areas like the Amazon, First Watch joined the cause and donated 25 cents to Rainforest Trust from the sale of every Triple Berry Açaí Bowl through March 12.

In less than three months, thanks to our amazing customers, we sold nearly 105,000 bowls of açaí and, in turn, raised over $26,000 in funds, all of which will go towards saving the Brazilian Amazon and the endangered species that call it home. According to Rainforest Trust, this donation will help:

We’re thankful for each of our customers who took a spoonful and helped us support Rainforest Trust’s efforts to keep our planet’s people, animals and ecosystems thriving.

A Fruitful Partnership Full of Benefits

Thanks to our partners at SAMBAZON and Rainforest Trust, you can feel good and do good knowing you are picking a dish with purpose while nourishing your body. Topped with fresh strawberries, blackberries, blueberries and our housemade granola with almonds, there’s truly a festival of flavors – and freshness – to celebrate and discover when it comes to our Triple Berry Açaí Bowl.

So, if you want to share a purple-tinted smile and say three cheers for this super(fruit) bowl, we’re right there with ya! Hip, Hip, Hooray!