the secret life of the city banana
A small Liberian-flagged container ship is about 3,000 miles from Ecuador.
It crossed the Panama Canal, picked up some goods in the Caribbean, and experienced several storms.
It\'s just the beginning of the boat\'s banana arrival in Brooklyn.
Ships like this bring 40 boxes of bananas a week.
Or about 4 million-
At the Red Hook Pier, the fifth of 20 million bananas a week is distributed across New York City.
When bananas arrived in New York, they started their second trip on a big ring road in the city.
They could be dealt with by customs officials in Brooklyn, injured by cooked cardboard packaging box in New Jersey, bargained at a huge agricultural market in the Bronx, finally in the evening by an unmarked near your fruit stand
\"If you ever see how much it costs . . . . . . \" Joe Palumbo, owner of Top Banana, a Bronx wholesaler, said.
In most parts of the country, grocery chains like Safeway run the invisible business of maturing and distributing bananas at night.
In New York, while things may be moving in that direction, most of the work still falls on local banana suppliers.
They can go back to the end of the 19 th century to monopolize the market and be called the Banana King Italian immigrant Antonio curio.
Kuneo was the first New Yorker to offer bananas to New York, perhaps the last.
Today, little family
Its own businesses ship bananas along the supply chain to grocery stores, hospitals, airports and every last bodega, earning a dollar per box. \"This is 24/6,\" Mr. Palumbo said.
\"And there is no money in it.
After Herman Hesse came to the port, Michael stamatisse, president of the Red Hook Container Terminal, stood on the waterfront in a suit and watched as a container was lifted from the deck of the ship.
New York used to be a major banana harbor, and now most of its bananas are shipped by truck from outside. of-
A state port like derwilmington.
Dole and Chikita moved their business a few years ago.
The Helmand Hesse is part of the fleet and is one of the few banana boats in the city.
Ecuador bananas, no-quite-
Well-known names: Belinda, Bonita, selvata. “This is a mom-and-
Popular terminal \". Stamatis said.
The ship is far from the old banana boat, Steamboat and sailing boat crowded in New York Harbor, just like the one that arrived at the pier in August 1897, and its deck was \"sticky
Now the fruit is in a refrigerated container.
Like all the goods, the container of the banana passes through the radiation detector at the dock. Mr.
Stamatis pointed out the double columns of the \"radiation portal. ” (
Bananas containing potassium, he said, are slightly radioactive and are known to cause the disease. )
Several containers in each shipment were taken to a warehouse in the terminal, where they were opened and inspected by the US Customs and Border Protection agency. Mr.
It turns out that Stamatis has worked for decades for the import of bananas for the Ecuadorian producer Bonita, and when Bonita was in trouble and the shipping line was closed, Stamatis came to Red Hook.
He took bananas with him, started a new route, and even imported some of his own bananas --Belindas.
\"I\'m a banana eater, right?
His first job at the age of 19 was chalk.
At Newark port, mark a box of ripe bananas with a boat on the conveyor belt.
A yellow banana can turn the whole box.
It was a noisy time, he said.
\"I can tell you that we have spiders, snakes, crickets, cockroaches,\" he said . \"
\"We will open the hatch and hear the cries of crickets.
He added: \"In the past, there were the smugglers, so people would run out when you open the hatch.
Many times we chase people in the block.
\"The next stop for Bananas is a mature warehouse located north of Bergen. J.
It belongs to Exp Group, which imports most of the bananas that reach the Red Hook.
When the truck arrived, the father and son, Emir Serafino and Anthony Serafino, came out of the office and came to the warehouse.
They wear short ones.
Green long sleeve shirt with company name on chest pocket.
Selafinos were originally just another agricultural wholesaler in Brooklyn, but more than a decade ago they started importing and exporting and moving to New Jersey to become the Exp Group.
Five years ago, they started transporting their bananas to New York from a farm near Guayaquil, Ecuador, and built the facility.
They have become one of the largest banana importers in Ecuador, although it is still a relatively modest business.
If Dole, Chikita and Del Monte are big bananas, this is the little one.
\"They want to destroy people like us . \"Serafino said.
The outside is 83 degrees and bananas must be removed quickly so that the fruit will not get hot.
On a mini-forklift, a worker pressed the case on the other side of the warehouse, while two other workers stacked the case on the pallet.
You can see the banana through the gap of the carton.
Instead of a yellow taxi, they are greener than the car outside.
The bolo taxi is as hard as the hammer.
In the tree, it takes a few weeks for bananas to mature.
However, commercial bananas are chopped and shipped while they are still green, so that delicious fruits are not destroyed during the voyage.
Now they are ready to mature.
The Serafino family came down along a wide passage lined with tall rolling doors painted in bright yellow: mature rooms.
The name suggests a warm place filled with orange light that can mimic the South American sun.
But when the young gentleman
Serafino opened a door and the room inside was dark and cold;
It\'s more of a garage than a sunburned booth.
Banana boxes piled up from floor to ceiling and a medical device
Watch the equipment come out of one and drag a rope.
\"A pulp thermometer,\" he said . \"
The mature chamber is filled with ethylene, a synthetic hormone that naturally triggers maturity.
The thermometer tracks the internal temperature of the banana, or its pulp level, which tells ripeners how to adjust the ethylene, humidity and temperature in the room.
This mature art takes time to perfect.
There were some accidents along the way.
Ethylene is combustible, and on 1936, the Pittsburgh banana company building exploded, causing it to rain in the Strip area of the city.
Today, you can slow down or accelerate maturity by clicking on touchscreen.
\"If sales rise, we will raise the temperature . \"Serafino said.
\"We will reduce the temperature if sales fall.
He said: \"The range is three degrees up and down.
\"You don\'t want to put pressure on bananas.
\"The mature room is kept between 56 and 66 degrees.
It\'s too cold, the bananas are getting cold, gray and bark --like, he said.
It\'s too warm, and although they look good, they get mushy inside.
The process takes about four days.
Upon completion, Serafinos will deliver ripe bananas to restaurant suppliers, wholesalers and grocery stores.
To make sure everyone is on the same page, they are referring to a mature chart in which mature shadows are numbered from 1 to 7one being flag-of-
Brazilian green, seven butter yellow with brown spots.
No one buys seven.
\"If I have a bunch of seven,\" said the older gentleman.
\"I didn\'t sleep,\" Serafino said.
\"United Fruit had Miss Chiquita sing in the 1950 s and 1940 s, perhaps for the sale of ripe bananas:\" bananas taste best when they are spotted Brown and golden, it\'s the best for you.
\"Jingle seems to have influenced a generation.
\"I like to eat yellow,\" said Emil Serafino, 61 . \".
But times have changed.
Anthony Serafino, his 25-year-old son, said: \"I like the yellow ones with green stems.
This is the millennial banana, he said.
From the end of the 19 th century bananas began to import to the east coast, banana demand is very large.
With pineapple, pineapple is especially popular when the fruit is off season.
They got off the ship in a huge boat, still on the stem, and thousands of people sold it in a few hours.
Peel is a danger in some cities. Yes, seriously.
Someone fell and hurt.
In fact, at least one person died of a slip on a banana peel.
On 1896, a headline in The New York Times announced a \"banana peel War \".
\"Not just the peel.
Parts of Manhattan are covered with a thick layer of sludge: orange peel, potato peel, Hay, feces.
But calls for action often focus on the dangers of banana peels.
This has been going on for many years.
In the 1889 th issue of The Times, a reporter described \"a tall, burly man\" who \"started briskly across the street . . . . . . Just planted your feet under him like soft soap.
Dan Koeppel, author of Banana: The fate of fruit that changes the world, said: \"That period is of course the origin of gag. ” (Mr.
Koeppel is now employed by the product-Wikipedia
The review website owned by the New York Times Company. )
The first street in New York
The sweeping action helped clean up the streets, but the idea of slipping on banana peels entered American culture.
Thanks to the Yiddish theater, juggling and the final silent movie, Koeppel said.
Banana peels have also attracted the imagination of local swindlers.
According to The Times, in 1910, a woman, Anna H.
Stuart, arrested after claiming she slipped on a banana peel
17 times in four years
For a while, New York City has a variety of bananas to choose from.
There are short bananas and red bananas from Cuba.
As a joint Fruit Company (
Later became Chiquita)
Monopolizing the whole industry and expanding throughout Latin America, one variety took over: gross Michel.
United Fruit is a ruthless corporate empire, but it is also fragile.
Wherever the company goes, it is harmed by the Panama disease, which causes the banana tree to rot from the inside and unknowingly spread to the soil stuck to the tool.
By 1960, the pathogen almost destroyed the banana crop.
\"The gross Michel was commercially extinct . \"
Koeppel, a historian of bananas.
The industry\'s chosen alternative to its breed, Cavendish, is resistant to this particular strain of Panama disease, but not as robust as gross Michel.
It turns this industry into what we know today.
Box, cold storage and advanced mature technology are needed, Koeppel said.
Nowadays, almost all bananas exported in the world are Cavendish bananas.
Because of its disease resistance, he said, it is not necessarily the most delicious variety. Koeppel.
He called it banana McDonald\'s.
In India, which has hundreds of banana varieties, the Cavendish Hotel is called the banana hotel.
Once bananas mature in New Jersey, they are loaded into trucks.
Some went to the market for farm produce at the Hunting Point in Bronx, where they unloaded on top bananas.
The point hunting market is a huge distribution center with trucks queuing up in warehouses every quarter. mile long.
On the most recent afternoon in Area D, Joe palambo, the owner of the top banana, sat at a large table.
Around him were dozens of photos of his five children, some of the Metropolitan utensils and the little pyramid of fresh bananas.
Top Banana has its own mature room as well
The sweetness of ripe bananas is inevitable. Some of Mr.
Bananas from Palumbo come from mature warehouses in New Jersey;
Others arrived at Green from the big importer who shipped to Wilmington.
He said: \"If you buy a grant or a Chiquita, it is likely that it came out of here. ”Mr.
He said: \"from your customers to your mom, palambo\" sells bananas to everyone\"and-pop store.
Among his buyers is an organization called Turks.
In fact, most of them are Turks.
They serve a very specific market.
One of the most recent nights, Dogan feraholu, stood in the middle of a pile of boxes leaning against a hand truck while his brother was bargaining.
\"My brother and partner are walking around and who gives him the best price,\" he shrugged . \".
Their customer: a fruit vendor in Manhattan.
They don\'t have bananas.
1 sales of products, Sir
\"The next step is blueberries and strawberries,\" feraoglu said.
In the market, it costs about $16 for a box deliveryman.
There are about 100 bananas in a box. According to Mr.
Palumbo used to have a lot of banana families in New York.
\"It depends on a few people,\" he said . \".
The Long Island banana company closed down a while ago because the owner was involved in the death of a prostitute woman who overtook it in a news report called \"drugs\"Sex carnival. ” (
He also embezzled the employee\'s pension. )
Most businesses are closed for less compelling reasons.
He said the younger generation did not want to inherit the family tradition. Palumbo said.
This is a difficult industry: night activities, low profits, headaches.
\"What\'s going on,\" he said, shaking his head.
\"Blizzard, Blizzard, Jersey toll road.
Personally, he has diversified.
In addition to the huge amount of Cavendish, top bananas also run green plantains, pineapples, cantaloupe, watermelon, lime, tomatoes, aloe vera and even like yautia
\"Not enough, banana.
\"For everyone in the banana trade, the future is uncertain.
Cavendish is sensitive to a new strain of Panama disease known as tropical race 4 or tr4.
Cavendish is basically a clone, and while bananas with the same genes in appearance and behavior are good for business, Mr Cavendish
\"When a person is sick, they all get sick,\" Koeppel said.
\"There is no doubt that the Cavendish banana will be seriously affected by the Panama disease,\" said Mr Cavendish. Koeppel said.
\"There are famous plant pathologists who say this, not just bananas.
He added: \"No one knows when.
Some in the industry have played down the threat;
Others are looking for a replacement banana.
In Asia, they are trying to develop a resistant Cavendish. Koeppel said.
\"But you can\'t breed only in resistance.
You may still be cultivating other things, such as taste.
At the same time, the hustle and bustle continues.
In the early morning, Ferahoglus left the hunting point, turned in a box truck, and unloaded several boxes of bananas at the corner of 96 th Street and Broadway Street in Upper West Side of Manhattan.
It is one of the busiest fruit stands in the city, with four umbrellas open day and night.
\"This is the best place for street sales in the city,\" Oktay Suleyman, one of the dayside suppliers, said on a recent business day.
Bananas are usually 4, $1, and on a good day they sell up to 15 boxes, about 1,500 bananas. Suleyman said.
On Monday, after people used up their weekend food, it was their busiest day. Mr.
Suleiman, who has half a lemon on hand, used to wet his fingers with it, making it easier to open plastic bags.
\"I have to hurry up at rush hour,\" he said . \" Because commuters started coming out of a nearby subway station.
He sold bananas to an Irish carpenter, a retiree from Puerto Rico and a business school student.
Student Sandeep Dusa picked some bananas and handed them to Mr.
One dollar SuleimanMr.
Suleiman slides over the lemon with his hand, opens a bag and throws them in.
\"I have to take them out of my bag . \"Dusa said.
\"If you have ripe bananas, you will make other bananas unhappy.
\"They are in sync,\" he said . \"“Smart fruit.
In the evening, there was a pile of empty boxes on the side of the road, leaving only a few lonely bananas on the table with Brown and golden spots.
Supply will be replenished within a few hours.
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