Bananas are the most popular fruit in the world, and for good reason. They are delicious, healthy, make for an easy portable snack and can be used in a variety of different recipes. And thanks to Organic Unlimited’s socially responsible G.R.O.W program, they are also changing the lives of banana farmers and their communities for the better.
G.R.O.W stands for Giving Resources and Opportunities to Workers. This month, we are celebrating the impactful work of this program. When you purchase a box of fairly traded GROW bananas, you are contributing resources to banana farming communities and providing health care, scholarships, clean water, and much more! A small premium from each case of bananas sold goes directly into the G.R.O.W fund. The program has been running for nearly 20 years, and in that time, over $3 million dollars in aid has been provided to farm workers and their families.
Learn more about the G.R.O.W program here.
How to Merchandise Bananas
Bananas are your produce department VIPs, your #1 selling item. They are also very fragile and should be handled delicately. It’s important to clean, rotate and keep your display fully stocked. For retail stores, we recommend stocking #4 and #5 colored bananas and possibly a few greener #3s. Check out our banana ripening chart for reference below or download your own Banana Ripening Chart.
Here are a few tips to help keep your bananas looking a-peeling!
- Upon arrival, open the cases and pull back the plastic to increase air flow to the bananas. This will keep your bananas from sweating and becoming over ripe.
- Clean and rotate your banana display daily. Wipe down the display surface and keep it clear from any build up and debris.
- Handle fruit with care when setting up your display to prevent bruising.
- Display bananas with rounded side down.
- Place greener fruit on the bottom and top with riper fruit
- Don’t stack too high. Two layers high is perfect!
- If you are hanging your bananas on a rack, hang with rounded side facing out so that they are easier to grab.
- Mexican-grown Persian and European cucumbers are in very short supply due to July’s tropical storms in Sonora. High winds caused cosmetic damage and excessive exterior scarring. Newer plantings are coming soon.
- Growers from Washington to Mexico and throughout the Western states are experiencing extreme hot weather. Coupled with drought conditions and limited water access due to falling water tables, some orchards and row crops will be stressed out. Hopefully vegetables and fruit won’t get too sunburned.
- Peculiar weather patterns are bringing many fruits and vegetables to maturity earlier than expected, like pomegranates and tomatoes. The fig crop will be over earlier than “normal”, unfortunately.
New and Exciting
* Adriatic Fig (left): With green skin and creamy red flesh that tastes like strawberry jam, Adriatic figs are beloved and absolutely deserve the hype. We’re so excited to have them in stock. Supply is limited, act fast!
Bronx grape: A cross between the seedless Thompson variety and the Concord grape, the Bronx Grape is sure to be a crowd pleaser. Seedless, juicy and honey-sweet with a jam-like texture. The distinctive color of the grape stands out, as a single bunch may vary in color from green to rosy-red, making them an exciting find for your customers. Now available in recyclable paper clamshell boxes!
Gold Kiwi: Extra sweet and a little tart, with a wonderfully tropical kick, these gold kiwis are sure to wow with every bite. Contrary to their green sibling, gold kiwis have smooth, fuzzless skin.
Keitt Mango: Tangy and sweet, with a creamy, buttery texture. The flesh is fiber-free with a thin seed.
Lemon Drop Pepper: This pepper lives up to its name by offering an exciting blend of flavors – a citrusy tang and a peppery spice. Watch out! The heat comes fast! Native to Peru, Lemon Drops are unique and often difficult to find in the U.S.
* Pear (right): Chojuro Asian pear and Red Starkrimson pear are both here now! The Asian pear has a honey-sweet flavor with its famously snappy texture. The Red Starkrimson has strikingly red skin with juicy flesh that’s a nice balance of sweet and tart.
Sugar Cube Melon: A small cantaloupe that is BIG on flavor. We love the rich and sweet taste!
Baby Broccoli: Sharp pricing and a good item to have on hand, as broccoli is limited right now.
Celery: Strong supply of this kitchen staple.
* Gala Apple (left): These gala apples are incredibly sweet with a nice, satisfying bite that makes the perfect crunch. USXF rated, in great supply, and at promotable prices!
Green Seedless Grape: ever popular, sweet and refreshing, several varieties are available. We are featuring the classic Thompson from Marian Farms and Fruitworld, both packed in environmental paper totes. Remember amber color indicates sugar!
Pepper: Strong supply of sweet peppers, with steady supply of chilies as well as red and yellow bell peppers. Sharp pricing on the yellow bells.
* Raspberry (right): Stellar pricing on raspberries, with steady volume.
Red Seedless Grape: The perfect combination of texture and taste, with a beautiful red color. There are several varieties at the peak of their season. Sweet and crunchy!
Squash: Good supply of Butternut and Delicata squash, with promotable prices on Delicata. Butternut is sweet, nutty, and extremely versatile. Delicata has pretty stripes and a speckled exterior that will really stand out. Unlike most hard squash, the skin is edible when cooked!
Tomato: Supply on Roma and Mixed Heirloom tomato is plentiful. Heirlooms have a nice mix of varieties with beautiful coloring.
Apple: Pink lady/Cripps are very limited
Artichoke: Availability is unpredictable
Blackberry: Limited due to cooler weather
Broccoli: Limited and costs are up
Lemons: Limited with elevated prices. Supply is winding down until Mexico and desert grown fruit come on.
Corn: Dwelley is ending their season this week. The corn out of Washington has started but is still limited.
Fig: Kadota, Adriatic, and Candy Stripe are not growing in the yields that the farmers were hoping for, and the season may end early.
Greens: Chard supply is tight. Iceberg lettuce is very limited and Romaine hearts are limited with elevated costs. August is always a challenging time for bunched greens.
Pea: Snaps are not available until late October/early November. Snow peas are limited and we will likely not see anymore.
Stone Fruit: White and Yellow nectarines, White peaches, and Red plums are limited.
Done for the Season