The End Of The Banana

Ken AshfordEducationLeave a Comment

Will the banana cease to be?

The banana we eat today is not the one your grandparents ate. That one – known as the Gros Michel – was, by all accounts, bigger, tastier, and hardier than the variety we know and love, which is called the Cavendish. The unavailability of the Gros Michel is easily explained: it is virtually extinct.

Introduced to our hemisphere in the late 19th century, the Gros Michel was almost immediately hit by a blight that wiped it out by 1960. The Cavendish was adopted at the last minute by the big banana companies – Chiquita and Dole – because it was resistant to that blight, a fungus known as Panama disease. For the past fifty years, all has been quiet in the banana world. Until now.

Most people don’t realize that the banana (as we know and recognize) is, and always has been, a man-made fruit — the result of many, many generations of careful selective breeding.  A real natural banana looks like this:


Don’t tell that to Kirk Cameron and friend, though, who think the banana (as we know it) was created by God: