The fishing off the west coast of South America is considered the best in the world because of the cold upwelling of the Humboldt Current
Due to their extreme abundance and proximity to Peru the harvesting, processing, and exportation of Anchovies are major industries in Peru. These currents occasionally change direction in what is known as an El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO). When these irregular current changes take place the surface temperature of the water rises and nutrient rich environment which promotes an abundance of sea life disappears. Coping with these irregular cycles and the problem of over harvesting threaten the Peruvian anchovy industry, as well as the related guano industry.” (In addition to this “anchovy” case, there were related cases for Salmon, Lummi, Shrimp Gillnet, and Shark—Obviously, a major fishing area even 2600 years later! And easily a place where the Mulekites could have survived quite well on fishing and hunting until they managed to bring crops in, or learned to domesticate wild plants, such as onions, legumes, potato, peanut and wild corn.
As an example, some animal species that originated (originally domesticated) in the Andes, such as cavy or domestic guinea pig (originally domesticated from the cavy tschudii, and were first domesticated for food around 500 B.C.; a relative of the Cavy is the Capybaras found throughout every country in South America except Chile, which were also domesticated for their meat; alpacas (much smaller than llamas) were first domesticated in the western Peru for the meat.
Domesticated plants originating in Andean Peru are potatoes, with hundreds of different types, sizes, and colors in Peru alone; cassava, including the manioc tuber, and the third largest source of food carbohydrates in the tropics; quinoa along with several other grains, including kañiwa; Madagascar bean originating in the Andes, dating as far back as 2000 B.C., including the lima-bean; Sweet Potato, which dates the farthest back in Andean Peru and referred to as the Peruvian sweet potato, and numerous other related tubor roots; the aforementioned peanut; cacao bean, found in Colombia, Ecuador and Peru; Tomato (tomatl), Andean fruit found in several varieties of wild Solanum; Oalis tubers (oca), ranging in color from yellow, orange, pink, apricot, and red; Ullucus (papalisa), root tuber somewhat similar to jicama (“hicama”) with its high water content; squash (cucurbita), a root tuber in several colors, from herbaceous vines; chile peppers; Yerba mate from Bolivia; and numerous fruits, such as Passion fruit, Pitanga berries, Guarana berries, Butia fruit, Guabiyu, Chimoya, Guava, Gape Gooseberry, Pineapple and papaya.
All of these wild plants could have been domesticated by the Mulekites, Jareidtes or even the Nephites in their long tenures in the Land of Promise. The idea that the Mulekites had to have brought seeds is not necessarily true in this unusual case, and as shown, could easily have gotten by without needing an immediate harvest, especially with the amazing fishing capability along the coastal waters, and the second of these amazing capabilities, and that is of the wild and domesticated type animals brought by the Jaredites.
As shown earlier, and recorded by Nephi, the forest around which Lehi landed was full of domesticate type animals as well as wild animals. That they traveled from the narrow neck of land all the way to Chile in the south is not surprising given the amount of time involved—some four or five hundred years and the tendency for animals to drift as well as hunt for new food stores, but should be noted that they would have passed through the area of Zarahemla. Also given the tendency of wild or feral animals to fill up an area and additional numbers to move on to settle further away.
Thus, we are talking about both plentiful fishing waters and plentiful hunting grounds to have supplied the Muleites with food sources to tide them over while they got their seeds, or domesticated wild plants into crops.
Returning to the subject of the seeds and plants within Andean Peru, we might want to consider that when Mormon tells us that “there were some who died with fevers, which at some seasons of the year were very frequent in the land -- but not so much so with fevers, because of the excellent qualities of the many plants and roots which God had prepared to remove the cause of diseases, to which men were subject by the nature of the climate“ (Alma 46:40), that the Lord also provided many plants that were healthful to the Nephites, for horticulturists tell us that of the top four most important seeds of all kinds, three of them originated in Andean Peru of South America: quinoa, millet, and buckwheat groats. The 4th is brown rice. Quinoa (pronounced keen-wa), has been around for upwards of 5,000 years in South America, and considered much longer by many in the field. Not only is quinoa higher in protein than other whole grains, but it provides complete protein--meaning all 9 of the essential amino acids we must obtain through our diet, are present in this grain, and is a better source of iron than other whole grains, having 4 times the iron as brown rice. Also high in content are calcium, phosphorus, vitamins A, E, and B. Quinoa's popularity is soaring as people discover its great flavor, versatility, and short cooking time.
Top: Kainwa plants; Bottom: Quinoa plant
Now where the Mulekites landed, the temperatures in winter reach around 62°F by day and 52°F by night. Grey sky for weeks, high humidity, and once in a while drizzle makes winter a little “clammy and cool” for the residents. So it's not much of a surprise to find scarfs, gloves, woolen jumpers, warm jackets and winter boots necessary for today'sliving. To make the weather and climate a little more confusing, there isn't only one real established climate in this area, especially in the winter months. The cold Humboldt Current and the rise in elevation from sea level in the west to the spur of the Andes Mountains in the east create several micro-climates.
There are big differences between the districts directly on the coast and those that are further away to the east. For example, in winter areas like Lurin (Pachacamac), Miraflores, San Isidro, Barranco, Chorrillos and as well parts of Surco (all the western lands of the Land of Zarahemla) will be cool, damp and foggy as they are close to the ocean. Going away to the east from the sea the weather changes step by step to drier and warmer weather.
According to the Köppen climate classification, created by Vladimir Köppen, the Lurin Valley, from around Lima south to Pachacamac is a BWh—Warm desert climate; however, in this one area is considered a bit like the Mediterranean (Köppen Csb) climate with an important difference — the winter, although cloudy, cool and very humid, does not have sufficient rainfall to be considered a Köppen C climate.