An alternative to wild heart of palm are palm varieties which have undergone a process of adaptation to become a domesticated farm species. The main variety that has been domesticated is the botanical species Bactris gasipaes, known in Ecuador as “chontaduro,” in Costa Rica as “pejibaye”, and in English as the “peach palm.”
Peach palms are self-suckering and produce multiple stems, up to 40 on one plant, so harvesting several stems from a plant is not so expensive because the plant can live on. Another advantage it has over other palms is that it has been selectively bred to eliminate the vicious thorns of its wild cousins. Since harvesting is still a labor intensive task, palm hearts are regarded as a delicacy.
As of 2008, Costa Rica is the primary source of fresh palm hearts in the US. Peach palm is also cultivated in Hawaii, and now has limited distribution on the mainland, but mostly only to the restaurant trade.
Brazil was the highest producer of uncultivated hearts of palm, but in the 1990s its quality went down. This left the market open for Ecuador to export its cultivated hearts of palm. Ecuador is now one of the main producers of hearts of palm. France is the largest importer of hearts of palm.