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Feb 3, 2008 02:43 PM

which book talks about banana farming?

I recall reading in some book (Omnivore's Dilemma? Food Revolution?) about the details of the bizarre way bananas reproduce, and how susceptible they are to blight since they're clones, and all that stuff. but i can't for the life of me remember which book this was.

anyone have any insight on what i might have been reading?


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  1. I read that recently too, or did I hear it on NPR? I thought it might have been in his earlier book, the Botany of Desire, but that only covers 4 crops and no bananas. Weren't they saying that all commercial bananas are the same species, and that there are many other species but they do not travel well?

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    1. re: cassis

      the index of botany of desire does not list bananas, but i might go through and do another skim. and yes-- wherever this passage is, there's this whole thing about how they are all genetically identical, and how our grandparents had a different strain -- Gros Michel -- but it was taken over by a fungus at some point, and now *all* eating bananas are a different strain -- Cavendish. And I feel like there was more about the actual mechanics of how bananas, ahem, make baby bananas, but I can't recall the details... anyway, thanks for the info..

    2. The definitive text had got to be the recently-published "Banana, The Fate of the Fruit That Changed the World" by Dan Koeppel. This is an eye-opening book, about bananas in particular, and food crops in general. The message is serious, but the book is well-written and fun to read.

      1 Reply
      1. re: pikawicca

        this sounds fascinating -- i might check it out. in related news, today at Trader Joe's I found organic Dole bananas -- with a 3-digit code on the label that links you, on the website, to photos and info about the specific farm on which your banana was grown. Kind of amazing. ( )

      2. Not a book, but Popular Science had an article a couple of years ago:

        1. I just saw it at Borders yesterday. It's called "Banana: The Fate of the Fruit That Changed the World" by Dan Koeppel