Sacha Inchi Super Food, The Inca-Nut

by Captain Bill

Sacha Inchi Super Food, The Inca-Nut

Harry Kelley relaxing at his country estate, Los Cedros.

Harry Kelley relaxing at his country estate, Los Cedros.

When Harry Kelley and Julio Parilla, two gentlemen farmers from Iquitos, Peru invited me to visit their estate, Los Cedros, to tour their Sacha Inchi operation, I jumped at the chance. You do not have to be an old farmer like me to appreciate their farm. Every thing is neat and tidy and well taken care of. It was fascinating to learn about Sacha Inchi farming from the experts.

Julio at home.

Julio at home.

I have enjoyed Sacha Inchi cold pressed oil, and roasted seeds for a couple of years, but  unless you have spent some time in the Amazon rainforest or along the east slope of the lower Andes you might not have heard of Sacha Inchi, even though it has been cultivated for 3,000 years. It helped fuel the Inca conquest of the Andes, and is nicknamed the Inca-nut.

Los Cedros

Los Cedros, a tropical paradise.

Sacha Inchi may well be the next big thing in health food stores around the world because the cold pressed sacha inchi oil contains 45% omega 3 fatty acid, 36% omega 6, 9% omega 9, 27% protein, and is rich in iodine, vitamin A, and vitamin E. It has a delicious mild nutty flavor. If you have been taking fish oil supplements for your omega 3, you may want to switch to Sacha Inchi for the taste.

Julio pointing out the Sacha Inchi pods.

Julio pointing out the Sacha Inchi pods.

I learned a lot about growing Sacha Inchi. Julio planted their two hectares from seeds he sprouted in a special compost mixture. His compost recipe is 5 sacks rotten sawdust, 1 bag aged chicken guano, 1 bag finished black compost, and a couple of handfuls of lime. He planted around 1200 sprouts in a 3 meter grid lined up with tall posts and wire for a trellis. It is best to plant the rows north and south to get the maximum sun on the vines.

Julio shows me the Sacha Inche rows on the high trellis.

Julio shows me the Sacha Inche rows on the high trellis.

Julio says, “You can not just plant Sacha Inchi and leave. It needs plenty of tender love and care. It has to be fertilized, trimmed and pruned, kept on the trellis, and weeded. Never interplant Cocona because the Cocona plants carries a fungus that is harmful to the Sacha Inchi vines.”

They made their first small harvest  of 40 kilos after 8 months. Two weeks later they harvested 80 kilos, then two more weeks and it was 110 kilos. In one year and 6 months they have harvested 600 kilos, and expect the total per hectare to be much more because they are learning better ways to prune the vines to increase the yield.

Sacha Inchi blossoms.

Sacha Inchi blossoms.

After picking the pods, they sun dry them for three days to make them easier to shuck the seeds out. They hire local women to do the shucking for S/1 sole per kilo. The value of a kilo of seeds is between 3 and 4 soles.

Sacha Inchi pods and seeds.

Sacha Inchi pods and seeds.

Harry says, “The best money is in cold pressing the oil, which involves a peeler to take the skin off, an oil extractor and a bottler. The pulp is a by-product used for soap, flour, bread, feed for fish and cattle, and is also used in cosmetics and medicinal cream.”

Harry and Julio are considering adding another 2 hectares to their Sacha Inchi farm, depending on government loans and the future price of Sacha Inchi.

I will do my part to raise the price. I love the roasted seeds and the oil is a tasty nutritious substitute for olive oil for bread and salads. The oil is not suitable for cooking as heat destroys the omega 3.

I buy my Sacha Inchi oil in the store right around the corner from my home and office.

I buy my Sacha Inchi oil in the store right around the corner from my home and office.

Try this; mix 4 Tbls. Sacha Inchi oil with one Tbls. fresh squeezed lime or lemon juice with salt and pepper over a mixed garden salad with diced avocado.

Try this; 1/3 cup Sacha Inchi oil mixed with finely chopped fresh basil and or thyme leaves. Use as a butter substitute on crusty French or Italian bread, or as a condiment for a tomato, onion, avocado, lettuce vegetarian sandwich on multi whole grain bread. Delicious!

Sacha Inchi Super Food, the Inca-Nut

Bill Grimes, Dawn on the Amazon

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Lonnie McCabe August 6, 2009 at 8:12 pm

Looks good! I’ll have to try some of the oil. You sure look comfortible setting there with a cold beer! Good luck with you bussiness. Tell the wife hello for me. I am setting at the house now, just finished the project I was on and taking some time to spend with my new bride.

2 Kerry Simon August 7, 2009 at 7:24 am

Hey Harry, You the BOMB. Good hearing from you and a very interesting article he has there Mr. Farmer. Boy you don’t stop thinking of all kind of ways to make life easier for you and your loved ones. It really sounds like you have your hands into a winner on this one though. Sure makes me want to visit you out there in the forest and hang out for a week.
Just maybe one day I’ll get to do that. Like I said very interesting crop you all got going on and be sure to let me know of all updates on your little venture big guy.

3 Sonia Civello August 7, 2009 at 6:09 pm

Hi Bill: I’m Sonia Civello from Houston. I enjoyed your blob about the next big thing, the Sanchi-Inchi nut from Peru that is being farmed at Los Cedros in Iquitos; I agree with you and can see why Sanchi-Inchi would have a better flavor than fish oil for omega 3 consumption. I’ve personally tried it as a body soap, salad dressing oil and bread, the latter of the three being my two favorite ways. I’d love to try it other ways as well. With more production, I’m sure there will be a lot of new ways to consume this miracle nut. In fresh cucumber salad, I use a little dash of sanchi oil, the flavor goes a long way with a pinch of salt, pepper, lemon and served slightly chilled. I love all of your pictures, your camara used for the pix are so clear, with great color and resolution. Thank you for sharing the tid bits of information about Iquitos, I think it’s all useful even for someone like me, a native from Iquitos and yet somewhat of a tourist, since I just started visiting Iquitos 4 years ago after 32 years of being in the United States. I’ve got to say, I’ve come full circle and I love to visit my birth city, where I get to spend time with my family, meet new friends, enjoy the people & absolutely the delicious food from Iquitos!!! Bless you and your lovely wife, Sonia Civello

4 wendy November 18, 2010 at 6:08 am

i tried some of these nuts in Cusco but cant seem to find anywhere to buy them on the internut any suggestions

5 Jodi January 16, 2011 at 6:02 am

I would like to know where I can purchase the nuts off the internet please?

6 terri May 3, 2011 at 5:24 pm

where can you buy inca nuts

7 Joey May 21, 2011 at 9:21 am

I certainly lilke the nut but haven’t tried the oil. I am going to see if I can find some locally and give it a try instead of the extra virgin oil I use.

The only thing I didn’t like was reading about getting the priced raised.

8 Captain Bill May 27, 2011 at 10:22 am

Thanks for the nice comments. Sonia, yours was particularly charming. A couple of great companies that handle lots of Sacha Inchi are Eco Ola Wholesale Super Foods, founded by Carla Noain and Bill Park, and Rainforest Herbal Products, founded by Marvin Ziefman and Dany Castro. I’m happy that both companies use the Amazon Explorers Club for their office away from their office in Iquitos, partially because we have the fastest internet in Iquitos and as Bill pointed out, “…no one waits on us with food and drink in our home office”. Eco Ola has a sacha inchi powdered protein that looks interesting and I love Rainforest Herbal Products chocolate bars with toasted ground up sacha inchi in the bar. We sell them here at the Dawn on the Amazon Café. Marvin scolds me every time he reads this article that sacha inchi is not a nut. It’s a seed. So there, now you know. Unfortunately it is known as the Inca Nut, not the Inca Seed. If Marvin has his way though, that will change.

9 Mark May 27, 2011 at 10:39 am

…anybody find it for sale in US stores ??

10 iuvenesco June 8, 2011 at 3:50 pm

@ Mark: So far, only on line. Even here in SoCal, i haven’t found the protein or any other decent protein aside from Sun Warrior in the stores; only the mainstream toxic crap.
Some websites and i would guess some stores have SunFood sacha inchi protein in 8oz bags, which you know will be exorbitant; i get the 1kg bag of Matakana from NZ: $50USD delivered. If you’re looking for whey, get Dr Jeremy Webster’s and take a look at the Protein Factory stuff, particularly Monster V.
Best regular price i’ve seen on the oil:

11 iuvenesco June 8, 2011 at 3:53 pm

…and by the way, the oil is extraordinary on a spring mix with coconut vinegar and freshly-ground spices.

12 Mark Halliday September 16, 2011 at 12:24 pm

I just checked whole foods here in Austin. The Savi website said WF carried it, but the whole foods guy begs to differ. Says they have not gotten any since Dr. Oz recommended the stuff on his show.

13 Don Dean September 16, 2011 at 6:02 pm

Awesome, Bill! I don’t yet have sacha inchi on the reforested plot – very high on the list, not doing anything commercial, just a few plants for educational purposes.

Chill is just starting in the northeast – from 80 to 45 degrees (F) in two days.


14 George Magdalek January 29, 2012 at 9:31 pm

I live in tropics, have land to plant and grow, I just have no idea where to get the Sacha Inchi seeds from. Do I have to fly to Peru to get them? Can any one can help? Give a little advise? I’d appreciate any info.

15 Christopher Peppiatt March 14, 2012 at 11:41 pm

Hi folks! I much enjoyed reading the article. I wanted to share with you our company, based in Vancouver, B.C, currently taking pre-orders of Sacha Inchi Oil. We do ship across Canada and the U.S. Our first shipment will be arriving mid-April. Don’t miss you! Order your bottle today.

16 Carol June 18, 2012 at 9:17 pm

Great article and so happy to see that sacha inchi is getting the recognition it deserves. Our company distributes sacha inchi in the US, we are a small family owned company (we were born and raised in Peru) and you can find our sacha inchi products at Whole Foods in Northern California and in Cambridge Massachusetts and we sell online as well.

17 Beth Lischeron April 27, 2013 at 6:01 pm

Ahoy Captain Bill! Loved to hear of your adventures, hope to get there one of these days! I have been importing Sacha Inchi into Left Coast Canada since early 2009, fantastic results with it in my organic body care products as well as supplying the oil as it comes ~ what an incredible story ~ how about an update on the impact of SI farming vs: coca?
Will let you know when I have my article on it up and available!
All best, be well! Beth Lischeron (

18 All October 21, 2014 at 6:27 am

Lovely article and very interesting . Like to try to have some seeds for consumption and some to grow in my garden. Can you help?
Really will be nice to visit your farm but I am to far away .
please let me know

Ciao All..

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