Over the past few weeks, the banana growing region has experienced some pretty severe weather pattern shifts. The cold fronts that we were experiencing have also affected Guatemala, Honduras, and the Mexico growing areas. Temperatures have been consistently 10F degrees lower than normal causing slowed growth, production, and harvest yields. Flooding in Costa Rica has caused damage to plantations, infrastructure to roads, and bridges while high winds and waves have caused delays in vessel schedules, port operations compounding shipping delays.
With that being said the industry will intermittently be short on bananas and we won’t have much warning when this is going to happen. We have begun experiencing the effects of this situation. As far as light at the end of the tunnel we are thinking 4 to 6 weeks’ time before we will be back to some type of normalcy barring any further weather issues. During this time it’s important to understand that when there is an interruption in the banana supply it always affect the ripeness stages that are available. We will see much more green fruit than usual so I would like to give everyone a little bit of insider banana knowledge.
If you receive fruit that is greener than normal please use this strategy to assist the fruit to the stage of ripeness that you are looking for. The banana box has a plastic liner in the bottom of the box. This liner is for 2 purposes. The first is to keep the humidity higher so the fruit feels like it’s at home in the jungle. The second reason is the plastic liner holds in the ethylene gas that is the natural fruit ripening fuel. It’s common to assume that you should open up the boxes and pull the plastic away so the bananas can breathe and ripen. This is the opposite of what the fruit needs from you. So the best way to get the fruit edible is to leave the boxes and plastic liner closed as they are and keep them in a dry storeroom around room temperature. You will need to monitor the fruit as once the clock starts ticking two boxes from the same delivery may ripen at different speeds.
For questions and additional information (and anything else you want to know about fruits and vegetables), please contact Russ Hickson at GoFresh.