Avatar Banana safari

The modern world is an amazing place. I went to the kitchen a bit hungry, just hoping to peel a banana and let that squishy yellow mush satisfy my snack reflex.

But my banana had other plans. Look at this sticker.

“Visit my farm!” it says. Well, you’re damn right I’m going to visit your farm, Mr Banana. Let’s do this.

Slam those numbers into the Dole website and you can join me on a banana safari. Welcome to farm 10608, the Guapiles 2 Farm in Costa Rica. Here’s some Guapiles Facts.

  • Costa Rica is home to over 100 volcanoes, five of which are still active.
  • The farm meets the ISO 14001 standard for environmental management, relating to waste management and air, water and soil contamination.
  • All plastic waste is collected, sorted and reused or compressed into bales and recycled.
  • The farm’s full official name is “Guapiles 2: This Time It’s Personal”.
  • It’s 6.03pm there right now, and 23 degrees celsius. (This one will vary in accuracy depending on when you read it.)
  • 204 people work here.
  • The farm is in a region called “Limón”, despite growing bananas, not lemons.

So far, so absolutely brilliant. Obviously, the next thing I wanted to learn was the story of the grinning bloke at the top of the page, who obviously loves his life at Guapiles 2. I want to know whether he knows the other 203 people by name, and whether he gets involved in collecting, sorting, reusing or compressing into bales and recycling the farm’s plastic waste. I want to know how he feels about the ISO 14001 certification, and whether he thinks Guapiles 2 is ready for ISO 14002 yet.

We will never know the answers to these questions. It turns out that Pedro – he’s definitely called Pedro – doesn’t work at Guapiles 2. Smash any five digit number into Dole’s palace of lies and there he is, pretending he works at Perla 3 where it’s now 29 degrees celsius, or Zurqui C near Sarapiqui, or one of just 70 people working at the evidently very exclusive San Jose 2.

Pedro has let me down, an agent of Dole, purveyors of fantasies and ruined dreams. I don’t know what to believe any more. It seems crazy that I ever thought you could grow bananas in a place called Lemon. How foolish I have been.

I threw the bananas in the bin, and had a Twix instead.

12 comments on “Banana safari

  • The shame of it. I shake my shame at them loudly and full of gristle. The fact that they’ve been getting away with this for probably years makes me doubt every banana that’s ever passed my lips. What else have they been lying about? Is the taste of bananas really bananas or is it something else?

  • That’s a really good question. I’ll tell you what it’s not, though: the taste of bananas is not the taste of truth.

    Now I think about it, every time I have ever lied, it was after eating a banana.

  • You might not have to worry about it for much longer. I found out the other day that almost all of the worlds bananas are descended from one plant grown in the UK, and they’re all getting some fungus or something that’s killing them off.

  • Oh great, so what do I do when I want a banana split then? Am I gonna have to find another fruit alternative?

    Cherry split sounds like a sex position. Strawberry split could work. If anyone tried to give me an avocado split I would have to remove their eyes.

  • A strawberry split would be a very small dessert. You should upgrade instead and have a really big fruit. Make a watermelon split. That’d be a dessert that would see you through several meals.

  • I like the taste of watermelon sweets yet do not feel too strongly about the real fruit. I blame Jolly Ranchers, they’ve purged out the positive ‘motions towards w-melons or welons as I have taken to calling them.

  • Right. No welon split for you.

    How about a gala melon (a “gelon”)? Or a honeydew (a “helon”)? Or a cantaloupe (a “cantalelon”), with its satisfyingly tactile outer skin? You could split one of those and decorate it with vast – VAST – quantities of cream and little shiny cherries.

  • I tell you what, you take some time off work and drive all the way up here, and we’ll sort this business out. Tell the BBC that some sham bananas ruined everything and we’re the only ones who can shake it up.

  • Fine. You buy in a truckload of little shiny cherries and all the cream you can find, and I’ll be up there just as soon as I’ve sourced an industrial supply of cantalelons.

  • Actually, reading that back, in addition to the lockdown restrictions about to be imposed on parts of the country, I don’t think this business is going to help my toxic masculinity (which is booming in bells you’ll be pleased to know).

  • If your toxic masculinity is booming in bells (?) then surely this giant melon dessert plan won’t make so much as a dent in your stratospherically manly bell?

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