Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Costa Rica - Our Trip Through the Banana Plantation

On our Panama Canal Cruise we stopped at Limon, Costa Rica. Marc and I took a Countryside and Ecocruise tour. It started with a tour of the Delmonte Banana plantation and our tour guide was Wendy. During the bus drive to the plantation she pointed out and described the countryside and we learned so much about the country. She was great!

It was a rainy start to the day and it was humid being in the rainforest. The driver stopped the bus to run out to pick up a flower of the banana plant. It isn't a banana tree but a banana plant because there is no bark on the plant. This flower will grow into the bananas.

Delmonte Plant....Quality. Wendy explained that the quality control is high. Before the bananas are packed for shipping they must be sure there are no snakes or spiders in the bundle of bananas. When quality control checks them if there is one spider...or goodness forbid..a snake...the whole bunch is discarded. So it has to be done right the first time.

Through the rain as we drove you can see the blue "packages". The banana bunches are covered to protect them from spiders and snakes as well as the temperature is controlled that way.

Twice a day they are sprayed against bugs. A coloured ribbon is attached to the bottom of each of these blue packages. That way they know what stage that bunch of bananas is at. When it is time to pick them they will go out on a particular day and pick all the ones with blue ribbons and another day all the yellow ribboned packages of bananas are picked....
Each bundle package of bananas will have approximately 150 bananas. When they are picked and brought to this area they are checked and put into bins.

Here they are washed....

There are 5 qualities of bananas. First and second quality are the ones shipped out of Costa Rica to other countries. They are picked green and it takes 3-5 days to arrive in the U.S. and Canada for example. For the people of Costa Rica the 3rd grade banana is the 1st quality they get. They also get the fourth quality. The bunches of bananas are precut into custom orders. Sometimes the requests are for 5 banana in a bunch, or a bunch of 1 for each day of the week, or for institutions they may want them packaged as singles.

The bananas below are 5th quality and will be included in animal meal.

Each banana plant is allowed to grow to 3 generations. Only the female plants grow bananas and one would find a grandmother, mother and daughter plant growing together. When the next plant starts to grow the grandmother plant would be removed and the mother would become the grandmother plant. Maybe these are some of the grandmother plants....that sounds like a sad story told this way. :o(

Marc can say this was the freshest banana he has EVER eaten and oh my it was so sweet.

Perfect banana after a perfectly fun tour. I'll share more of the day another time.

Now you might know something more about the next banana you eat... Judi xoxo


georgiavee said...

Judi: Thank you for posting this interesting "National Geographic Special". Glad you and your "top banana" had such a good time.

Theresa said...

What an interesting post! We enjoyed the Dole Plantation on our Hawaii trip:) Marc sure makes me want a BANANA!

Have a blessed day dear Judi! HUGS!

Anonymous said...

Hi Judi! What a great post!! I've been to Costa Rica but didn't go to the banana plantation but we did go to the coffee bean plantation! :)
I'll bet that was one delicious banana! :)
Thanks for popping in and have a blessed day, sweet friend,
Shelia ;)

pchickki said...

What an informative, interesting and fun tour. I always wondered about how they took care to not ship spiders with the bananas! Thanks for sharing. It looks and sounds like you had a ball.

Lindsay-ann said...

Hi Judi
This is so interesting. I enjoyed hearing about your Banana Plantation adventure and loved seeing the pictures.

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