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Gone bananas

(article, Kim Carlson)

Umbra Fisk, the inimitable advice columnist at Grist, recently peeled back the differences between organic and conventionally grown bananas when a curious reader asked why organic bananas seemed smaller and greener than their conventional kin:

bq.When a conventional plant receives synthetic substances targeted at maximum fruit production, and a farmer can apply pesticides whenever a sickly plant (fed on little of substance) starts to lag, the fruit can get quite large. Organic farmers have to pay a bit more attention to the health of the whole farm, the whole plant, and can't just push plants to the max. As a result the fruit is smaller. I'm not claiming to know much about banana production, but I have seen this effect with other produce. So I think organic bananas may be smaller than conventional bananas because — well, probably because organic banana plants are healthier. Those gigantic bananas to which we are accustomed are just plain old weird.

There's a lot most of us could learn about this long yellow (or short red) fruit that we take for granted — whether organically or conventionally grown — even though bananas aren't cultivated much in the continental United States. Wikipedia is a good starting place to learn more, but you might also join us in checking out Banana, a new book on the topic.