Monday, June 11, 2007
I like to have a banana most mornings with my breakfast, and I also generally like to buy local or at least organic when I can. For bananas, local is out, since we're not really the right climate for it. (While some people here do have backyard banana trees, nobody grows enough of them to turn up at the farmer's market.) And at Whole Foods, the organic bananas on offer never looked that great, so I resigned to regular old Chiquita bananas from Gelson's. That is, until a few months ago, when I noticed a new display of "Earth bananas" at Whole Foods. The display explained that these Earth bananas were the product of a venture called "Earth University" in Costa Rica that was all about researching organic, environmentally-friendly farming. Not only had Earth University succeeded in growing bananas organically (which is more difficult than most other fruits due to the climate), but they had pioneered new techniques for improving their water efficiency and making more use of their by-products. And not only do these bananas look just as good as the regular Chiquitas, they actually taste better. I had never thought about much difference in the taste of bananas until I tasted these. They are noticeably richer and fuller in banana flavor. And verging on too good to be true, these bananas cost the same or less than the others. They do ripen (and thus perish) a bit faster than the regular bananas. But then real food is like that.