The two products we put out more than any others on Produce (A)Isle are roma tomatoes and bananas.
The banana that is the mainstay of the Western World is the Cavendish banana. The history (here) of the Cavendish is interesting: originally sent to William Cavendish, 6th Duke of Devonshire in the 1830's, they were raised in his Greenhouse. Originally the Cavendish was not the banana of choice: this was the Gros Michel ("Big Mike"), which was the commercial mainstay of banana-dom until the 1950's, when it succumbed to a fungal disease called Panama Disease. At the time it was believed that the Cavendish was resistant to Panama disease and thus entered production; as it turns out this may not be the case and the Cavendish Banana remains at risk.
As longer readers might recall, we saw bananas being grown in Costa Rica in 2021, The blue bags are to help ripen them.
Bananas come in 40 lbs. boxes. There are only two suppliers, at least to us: Del Monte and Dole. There are two types, Organic and Regular Bananas. Generally, organic bananas are about $0.14 more expensive a pound:
The 40 lbs. box contains four rows of banana bunches, an inner row on each side and an outer row fitting around it. The rows are separated by plastic. On the whole, a case of bananas will have been 16 and 20 bunches.
You would be shocked at the amount of bananas we sell.
I can easily refill the banana racks at least twice and possibly three times during a 5 hour shift: one major loading which may consist of 10 to 12 cases and a second and third loading to fill in the gaps, each easily 4 to 6 cases - thus making the total number handled 18 to 24 cases of bananas at 40 lbs each.
Let us just say my change in gyms has been adequately compensated for. By a job.
Additionally, the bananas come in various stages of ripeness. Some of the are a brilliant ripe yellow, some of them are a faded green to yellow, and some of them are almost pure green. There is no rhyme or reason to what comes: sometimes it seems like 100% yellow, sometimes almost all green.
Balancing the various ripeness is a trick. The ripe ones obviously get over ripe much more quickly and so keeping them out and up front matters. The green ones are often less attractive for eating, so too many means slower sales.
An ideal distribution on the rack is that the upper two rows (10' each, two sides) is all more ripe bananas and the bottom two racks are the more green bananas. How many bunches of bananas are those? Not sure as there is a lot of variability in bunch sizes, but it is a fair amount.
If you had asked me going into this job what one of my biggest tasks would be, I would not have said bananas - possibly because we do not eat a great many of them but also in that I had no idea how many other people ate them either. And yet perhaps excluding Roma tomatoes, they remain the item I have to fuss the most about to make sure they are always full.
Or, you might say, I discovered that bananas have great a-peel...