Bananas are absolute staples, and are considered the worlds' most popular produce item. We love bananas and know that (most) of you do too, and therefore we’ve done our absolute best to source them from the best plantations around. In our partnership with Discovery Organics in Vancouver, we have been sourcing bananas from two Fair Trade banana co-ops… one in Ecuador – Cerro Azul, and one in Peru – BOS Salitral.

Both BOS and Cerro Azul have been wonderful examples of how Fair Trade co-ops should work. They treat their farmers well, work together to bring their produce to the market, and have strict quality controls to ensure premium bananas. Click here for more information on why their bananas are so special!

Bananas being labelled at Cerro Azul co-op in Equador.

However, in the past few weeks many things have worked against us for providing the usual high quality bananas to our customers… and here is why:

  • We ripen them right here in Edmonton without any added gas, just the natural process to maximize the sugars in ripe bananas. This means our bananas taste great! But also that natures schedule of ripening does not always match our delivery schedule… hence we sometimes ship underripe bananas – which you can easily ripen at home using our same process!
  • Port strikes and inspections! These bananas are shipped on sea containers that dock into several ports on their way from South America to Vancouver. Each port has their own challenges and when port strikes happen, containers can be stranded for days (or weeks!) before getting put back on the water, which means aging fruit which doesn’t behave the way we expect when ripening.
  • The worst of it all has been disease! These bananas are a mono crop cultivar called Cavendish, and like all mono crops it is very susceptible to disease. Cerro Azul has seen a new virus land on their fields and are doing their best to manage it, but it’s hard since they’ve been seeing 3x the usual rainfall this winter. BOS has several diseases and viruses that they are trying to battle and have cancelled all future shipments while they sort it out.
  • It’s not peak banana season. What this means is that all these issues are compounded. The fruit is not growing at it’s peak capacity/quality, hence the trees are immune weak and more susceptible to disease. Supply is down, but demand remains the same… so producers are juggling a lot to try and keep everyone happy.

See the banana flower on the end? They remove it to make sure the larger bananas grow even bigger!

Bananas on the tree - after the flower has been removed.

Measuring to make ensure they are the correct size.

Ultimately the current state of bananas is a bit of a mess. So - for this week - we have decided not to include bananas in every box and let the waves settle a bit. Discovery Organics has connected with a new plantation in Mexico which they hope to have operating in the next 3 weeks. This is good news! If all goes well we’ll be back to our regular, spectacular supply, and we’ll maintain our promise. 

Fair food for all people. Always certified organic. As local as possible. Direct to your door.