There were a few days at La Selva when I was just too tired to set up a post, I'll make those up now though, so that there is a complete record of what we learned. Here is the first of the makeup posts.
Tuesday we traveled to a Dole plantation to learn more about how bananas are grown.
Each banana grows from a fertilized flower. After fertilization, each flower is removed by hand from the ripening banana. The bunch is also trimmed to remove the bottom three hands of bananas, allowing the extra energy to concentrate in the top bananas. Always wondered where that phrase came from? The top bananas get the most nutrients and are least likely to be bruised are damaged by nearby bunches.
To remove any chance of bruising, each round is separated and wrapped to isolate it from other bananas. They are cut down and placed on a cable system where donkeys help pull them down to the packaging facility.
There, the banana are washed and separated.
Alum is brushed on the cut end to seal it and prevent latex oozing. Stickers are added by hand wile inferior bananas are pulled to go to a baby food factory.
Finally, the bananas are sorted onto trays, each weighing 42 pounds, before being placed by hand into boxes for shipping.