Banana Info-rama

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At The FruitGuys, we have always supported local and regional agriculture, especially small farms growing unique, diverse, and hard-to-find heirloom varieties of fruit. We believe that supporting a natural diversity of crops is essential to the concept of sustainable agriculture - and it tastes great too! Our FruitBuyers Dan, Rebecca, Erin M., Benn, and Robert work hard each week to track down delicious produce from local farms to keep your regional mixes interesting and educational. You can always see what is in your mix here.
But what about bananas? An office favorite, bananas are not local to the continental United States as they require a tropical climate with lots of rain. If you are on a strict local-only fruit diet, bananas won't make your fruit list (p.s. if this is the case for your company you can let us know and we'll remove them.) Statistically speaking, bananas are America's favorite fruit. Average annual consumption is about 26 pounds per person, and they are excellent sources of Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, and potassium. While there are thousands of varieties, the Cavendish is the most widely consumed in the U.S. and is recognizable for its sweet, firm texture and its uniform size, and solid yellowness. Unfortunately the Cavendish banana is being threatened worldwide by a fungus that attacks its leaves and prevents the banana plant from achieving photosynthesis.
Dan Koeppel, author of Banana: The Fate of the Fruit That Changed the World (Penguin Group 2007), writes that, "after 15,000 years of human cultivation, the banana is too perfect, lacking the genetic diversity that is key to species health. What can ail one banana can ail all. A fungus or bacterial disease that infects one plantation could march around the globe and destroy millions..." as happened in the 1960s. In the first half of the 20th century, nearly all bananas consumed in America and Europe were a variety called Gros Michel; but a fungus nearly destroyed that variety 40 years ago and growers replaced that variety with the Cavendish, which flourished and saved the industry. But since 1992, a new fungus has wiped out Cavendish plantations throughout Southeast Asia and Australia. Koeppel says it has yet to spread to Africa or Latin America (from where most U.S. bananas are imported) "but most experts agree that it is coming." This could mean increased banana prices if more crops are threatened.
While The FruitGuys has no control over the global marketplace, your subscription pricing means we don't pass rising costs of bananas, or other produce, on to you. We will continue to follow the news about bananas, find suppliers, and keep you informed. Take an extra second to savor the goodness this week.
Enjoy and be fruitful!
-Jeff Koelemay
info@fruitguys.com.
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Our online magazine offers a taste of workplace culture, trends, and healthy living. It features recipes for easy, delicious work meals and tips on quick office workouts. It's also an opportunity to learn about our GoodWorks program, which helps those in need in our communities and supports small, sustainable farms.