Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Banana Excuses

I have rarely eaten bananas in the past few years, since I saw an interview with the head of the Dole corporation where he said that the single biggest cost their company has is fuel to transport all of those little yellow tropical delights up here to the northern hemisphere. The guy also pissed me off when he got all righteously indignant and started spouting a pile of crap about his right to "brand" his product when the interviewer asked him about the stickers on produce... also made it plainly obvious that the dude hadn't set foot in a grocery store in years or else he would know that the primary purpose of the stupid stickers is to make the PLU code easier to find... but I digress...

Anyhow, since bananas have a pretty huge carbon footprint (unless you happen to live in Hawaii or Jamaica or someplace tropical where they actually grow) I decided to forgo their wonderful yellow mushiness.

However, I recently read an article: about how you can prevent aphids from attacking your plants by mulching them with dried banana peels! Since I am bound and determined to protect my cruciferous veggies from the aphid army this year, I was totally psyched. It does bring up an interesting dilemma though... is it really an eco-friendly option if the bananas are shipped in from half way around the planet? Hmmmm... here's an article extolling the virtues of the banana and claiming that it actually has a low carbon footprint compared to some other options: Sorta looks like a greenwash to me...

Well I still can't decide if bananas are an eco-sin or not, but the aphid thing was enough of an excuse for me to buy a bunch of them last time I was at the grocery store. I'm dutifully freezing all of the peels until I can find time to dry them, and most definitely enjoying the excuse to indulge.

Jasper's not quite sure what to make of them though...

What do you think? Are my bananas an eco-sin or not?


  1. I also have not bought bananas for a few years now for the carbon footprint reason, but have indulged on occasion when I come across them on a visit to my parents' or at hotel continental breakfasts.

    Interesting on the aphids. I have been tempted to buy some lately, not for aphids, but with the "pregnancy" excuse. I guess if it's an eco-sin, we may both be committing it ;)

    In general though, I'd say there's a difference between buying bananas on occasion and making them a regular part of your diet, but that may be a slippery slope.

  2. OK... there's a joke in there somewhere about slippery slopes and banana peels...

  3. Yeah, I'm never sure how to feel about bananas either, but I avoid them because of the stickers, so that takes care of the transportation issue as well. :-)

  4. I'm a bit late to the party on this one, but just found this via your posting about the hailstorm. I must confess that I've never even considered giving up bananas, as they are a big staple for my eight-year old who is an incredibly fussy eater. And now that I know they can help with aphid-attacks on my own beloved kale, I'm even less likely to given them up. I'm very torn about bananas, citrus and other tropical fruits. Our consumption is low (beyond bananas and lemons and the odd navel orange), but I'd be hardpressed to give them up entirely by choice alone. Our recipes and cultures are so geared to having these items, but of course we could survive without them - our ancesters did! Good for you for going without - I'm very admiring of you.

  5. Hey DF - I'm actually not a huge fan of bananas in the first place... they make my teeth feel furry... so it's never been a huge sacrifice to give them up. I'm a huge orange lover though... my rule is that I can have them if they were grown in the USA.... it's an environmental cop out I know, but since I'm allergic to pears, it's hard to find other fruit through the winter. Besides, nobody's perfect!

  6. Oh man. Firstly, pears are the least allergenic fruit known how are you allergic? So much delicious you cannot have :(

    Secondly thank the Gods I live in Queensland, Australia that I can have around the clock bananas. They are literally never out if season here. I love them, I am lucky!

    I have started considering this very conundrum. If I can only get an Eco item from overseas does the transport footprint outweigh my good deed? I would say yes it does - but then i want my money to support Eco friendly businesses, is that more important? I don't know!

    1. I'm sort of coming to the conclusion that a bunch of this stuff lands in the "six of one, half dozen the other" category. I think in those cases, you just have to do what's best for you.

      But the whole banana peel aphid thing seems to be a complete bust. I've already been infested twice this season and it's still June (usually the aphid army doesn't invade until July or August.) Maybe you just need a lot more banana peels than I was able to save. Sigh.


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