Tropical Fruit Growers South Florida is an association of farmers that specialize in growing tropical fruits. Now you can get these tropical fruits in the supermarket or you can get it directly from our growers at our website www.tropicalfrtuitgrowers.com.
Well we’re in The Redlands, an agricultural area 25 miles southwest to Miami, Florida and we’re at the “going bananas” farm owned by Don and Katie Chafin. We have Don right here, the bananas expert.
Julian: How are you doing?
Don: Hi Julian nice to see you
Julian: Nice to see you too. So what can you tell us about the banana industry in Florida?
Don: Bananas were introduced to this hemisphere about 1516, they were brought to Hispaniola which we know is Haiti and the Dominican Republic today. There they spread to Jamaica and Panama and then around the 16th century they arrived in Florida. In the late eighteen hundreds bananas started to be farmed on a small scale and we’re still farming bananas here today.
Bananas are large, herbaceous monocots. They are the largest plant without a woody stem. A banana plant takes about 14 to 16 months in order to have fruit. When you plant a banana plant, within about 6 months you’ll see a daughter, 6 months later after the banana plant has put out all the foliage you’ll see a flower come out the top of the plant, once that happens the fruit sizes up within about 4 months and we’re harvesting the fruit and cutting the banana plant down. So you can see it happens very quickly.
The benefit of having Florida Bananas is we have quite a few different varieties unlike what you are going to see in the groceries store and we have a large diversity of flavors. The one that you are most commonly used to, the Chiquita banana is Grand Nain, here in the farm and in this area we’ve got varieties such as Goldfinger, Namwa, Rajapuri… so you can see we have many other very good tasting cultivars. By contacting tropicalfruitgrowers.com you can connect with one of our growers and have an opportunity to taste some of these new and delicious fruit and I think you will like it much better.
The benefit of buying Florida Bananas are they’re grown locally and they’re not shipped here form Central or South America and they have not been refrigerated, they’re nice and fresh.
Once you have this fruit and you bring it in the house you can treat it just like you would any other banana, leave it on the counter and as it starts to freckle and get a little bit sweeter, eat it. If it gets ahead of you and you don’t know what to deal with it, you can peel it and freeze it, putting it in a plastic bag and sucking all the air, or you can cut it up and use it for the different recipes.
So the banana is quite versatile, here we actually take frozen bananas, we throw them in the blender and we may make smoothies everyday. Not only is it versatile and easy, it’s very good for you as well.
Julian: Well thanks Don for showing us around and telling us all about the Florida banana and, where can we get these bananas from?
Don: You are more than welcome Julian. You can contact one of our growers at tropicalfruitgrowers.com; we’ll fix you up with some great fruit.