Customs, Cuzco Neighborhoods, Food Culture

Capuli, a Delicious Native Fruit from Cuzco

A Mountain of Capuli Fruit in the Market

Cuzco has fruit from around the world as well as native fruit. One fruit that is appearing in the markets these days and is particular to Cuzco is the Capuli. It is similar to the black cherry and is delicious and attractive. Its color and flavor draw people.

Sometimes capuli is grown in Cuzco’s gardens while other times, where there are fields, it is grown as a bush to mark a field’s boundaries. This impedes the entrance of trespassers to your property.

Its flavor is delicious and, as a result, quite attractive to many birds that visit fields, such as Cuzco’s chihuaco bird. The chihuaco loves capuli fruit. In turn, the bird performs a favor for the capuli by spreading its seed.

Cuzco's Chihuaco Bird
Cuzco’s Chihuaco Bird

Some people grow this fruit tree commercially. They sell the fruit on Saturdays in the fairs that specialize in plants, such as the one in the Plaza Tupac Amaru of the Wanchaq District. Not only do the grow capuli seedlings but other varieties of fruit as well.

Where the land and climate are favorable the capuli produces heavily. These places include Lucre and the Sacred Valley of the Incas which includes Pisac, Urubanba, and Ollantaytambo, among others.

The capuli fruit generally appears in the months of February, March, and April. When one goes to market during these months one can always return home with a basket of capuli fruit.

Capuli Fruit For Sale
Capuli Fruit For Sale

The fruit arrives first at the largest markets of Cuzco, such as the wholesale market of Vino Canchón. There you can find the food that Cuzco tends to consume. Capuli is sold in the retail markets of the city, once it makes its way there, for piles that run between one and two soles depending on their size, between forty and eighty cents of the dollar.

In February the Capuli tree is also used for the Carnival feast as a “cortamontón” or “yunza”, that is as tree filled with presents that is ceremonially cut. Many people rely on capuli because it is so much less expensive to obtain that a eucalyptus, a pine, or a cyprus tree. It is also easy to obtain in Cuzco. Furthermore, when in fruit the capuli fills with its dark red fruit as if they were presents from the sky.

Capuli Tree in a Yunza
Capuli Tree in a Yunza
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2 Comments

  1. A beautiful blog on a beautiful place.
    Having been lucky to visit twice, you really do capture the colour & vibrancy of your city.
    Cheers, ic

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