When we first came across Peaceful Fruits we knew we’d come across something special: A brand whose roots are the Amazon and whose branches reach all the way up to North America. Peaceful Fruits makes travel friendly fruit snacks that are hand-made in the USA with sustainably sourced açai from the Amazon to support rainforest conservation, community impact and fair wage opportunities. This is why Peaceful Fruits is a perfect fit as our Ecuador trip sponsor, and we tracked down the founder, Evan Delahanty, to learn more.
Let’s start with the basics. What is açai and why is the fruit so special to you?
Açai (ah-sigh-ee) is an awesome fruit that looks like a blueberry and has a pit the size of a cherry seed. It grows on palm trees and it’s actually much closer to a coconut than a berry!
It’s a delicacy in Suriname not because it’s rare, but because it doesn’t keep (not many refrigerators out in the village!) People value it for the healthy fats, the antioxidants, and the amazing flavor.
Tell us about how you started Peaceful Fruits.
When I came back from Peace Corps, I wanted to start a business that would help me stay connected to the people in the Amazon. I wanted to help the people there make a sustainable living in a way that would let them protect their way of life, in balance with the rainforest – but still make a fair living. And I wanted to make a living too!
That’s how Peaceful Fruits was born – a for profit company with a strong social mission. With my connections to farmers, working with fruit made a lot of sense – and food is one of the ways people connect anywhere. Also, food is – more and more – a place where people care about the story behind the product. Organic, non-gmo, gluten free – but also fair trade, sustainable, local.
We work hard to create a product that can compete with anything else on the market in terms of flavor, nutrition, convenience, or price – but also offers that additional reason to buy which is the story behind it!
How did your two years in Suriname with the Peace Corp change your perspective on life? What did the communities and people you worked with teach you?
The most important thing I learned is that people are people. Different backgrounds, different norms, different circumstances – but people are people. Most are good, willing to work hard, and looking for a better life for themselves and their families.
Talk to us about your team that produces the snacks. What excites them about work every day?
Our team is at the heart of what Peaceful Fruits is – and it’s expanding! You can’t make awesome snacks without love, that’s all I know. Right now, we have 1 person working full time as the core of production and more than 10 working part time on that and everything else. Some are fully-abled and love the mission – for people with disabilities or in the Amazon – others love the food, and some are grateful for a job that respects who they are and what they can do.
It’s so important to us, we actually made a video about it!