Visiting a Banana Plantation

January 12, 2017 Paul Groves

(Day 9 of 111) Corinto, Nicaragua
Driving up to the Finca Emma banana plantation, we saw one large mass (the bunch of bananas) covered with a blue bag and over that a white bag hanging from each tree. These bags protect the bananas from the sun, insects and other problematic animals such as bats. A tiny colored ribbon hands out of the bottom of each bag to signify the age of the banana plant. The bags are transported from the fields to the packing facility hung from a rail. They look odd floating across the grassy field.

Some of the banana plants are started from small tissue samples that are carefully grown in a nursery. Once established, however, successive generations of the same plant are used. One bunch of bananas comes from each tree. The banana fruit comes from the female flower. The bananas are measured with a tool similar to a caliper to know when it is time to harvest the bunch.

At the packing facility, the bunches are inspected, sorted, soaked in bleach water, sprayed with citric and and a preservative that prevents the ripening process until the plastic bags around the bananas are opened at their final destinations. I thought it was interesting that groups of about 18 bananas are called “hands” and that there are usually five hands in a bunch.

Of course, we stopped at a Hacienda to have a snack and a rest. The snack consisted of fried plantains as well as fried cheese and beans and salsa. It was all delicious.