Getting ready for the market shelf
- When the bananas are brought to the packing plant, they hang on stems that weigh 40-50 kilos. After the quality check they are prepared for packing.
- In the end of every banana there’s a small, dry flower that has to be removed. If the flower is still there when the bananas reach the port, the quality controllers can refuse the entire box.
- One worker’s task is to cut the bananas from the stem into smaller bunches called ”manos”, hands. To cut the bananas he uses a spoon-like knife called ”cuchareta” (cuchara is spoon in Spanish).
- Then he throws the smaller bunches into the first of two basins of clean, running water kept in motion by a noisy engine.
- When the bananas are in the first basin, their peel is checked. If they have spots, scratches or other defects they’re not export quality.
- Then they are cut into clusters of 4-6 bananas, the kind we see on the market shelves, and thrown into the second basin. Individual bananas are called ”dedos”, fingers.
- There, they stay for 15-20 minutes to be cleaned from dust and other dirt that may have entered through the holes in the protective bag, and to stop leaking sticky latex. Latex is a fluid inside unripe bananas, and it sticks like glue on clothes, tools and hands.