And now, for something completely different.

So I was going to write you all a wonderful post on making fried bananas, but after doing a little research, I don’t think I can justify it ethically or environmentally. Wow.

Bananas have a long and controversial history. In America they started as a luxury food but have now become a cheap, widespread commodity, mostly due to Chiquita Banana, formerly known as the United Fruit Company. In countries like Colombia and Honduras, the banana companies have long been known as political players, bribing the (usually conservative-controlled) military to keep farm laborers in line and prevent them for striking for better money or for better conditions. Banana companies have started wars and have crippled local economies by stripping the land of resources and then moving on to greener pastures after banana farming towns have gotten too large and precarious to sustain themselves without the company.

I guess I should have realized this about bananas sooner. They’re cheap, grown in tropical countries without a lot of regulation, and there are evil fruit companies in almost every book by Marquez (a Colombian author) that I’ve read. I guess I was hoping that something had changed in the last hundred years or so, that federal regulation was different now or something. Well–not really. While on U.S. soil, companies are held to a very different standard than when they establish farms overseas.

I was hoping to do a silly post on bananas, talking about different cultivars and about the humorously named “banana bunchy-top virus” that occasionally invades the population. Actually, that’s still pretty funny. But I guess it’s time for me to face up to the fact that I need to find a new favorite fruit, something that doesn’t fund what’s basically a corporate-military unholy alliance throughout Central and South America. I encourage you to do the same.

I’m gonna do some research on apples and then we’ll try this tasty-snack post again.

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Carlene
    Jun 08, 2010 @ 14:17:56

    When I read “banana bunchy-top virus,” I assumed it was some sort of fashion faux pas like a muffin top. I wonder what it would look like.

    Reply

  2. Kat
    Jun 08, 2010 @ 14:59:47

    Better yet, try for fruit that can be readily foraged (within the next two months, blackberries will start showing up on roadsides and on the edges of woodlands- just watch for pesticide spraying) or grown yourself. Banana trees do surprisingly well indoors in Virginia- they’re just a bit expensive. They have very shallow roots (not true roots at all, since they’re actually herbs kind of) so they’re easier to keep in pots than most trees. You could look into getting one for your apartment.

    Reply

  3. Kat
    Jun 08, 2010 @ 15:11:57

    Actually, scratch the ‘expensive’ part- an eight inch tall banana rhizome costs about fifteen US dollars. Here’s a site that sells dozens of cultivators, including the Williams hybrid, which is one of the several sold under the ‘Chiquita’ brand name: http://www.banana-tree.com/banana-plants/. In addition, it has more exotic varieties, like the Burmese Blue, Chinese Yellow, and Siam Ruby. I think the Cavendish Dwarf might be good for apartments, since it only gets to six feet.

    Reply

  4. thecraftersmanifesto
    Jun 08, 2010 @ 15:18:16

    Wow, that’s an excellent idea. I’ll look into this.

    Reply

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