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They’re back! Banana bonanza hits shelves

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Bermuda got a welcome break from a long banana drought after the first shipment since January hit the shelves yesterday.

Residents have been limited to locally grown stock since invasive pests halted imports early in the year. Mealybugs, a type of scale insect that threatens a variety of crops, have recently tainted imports.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources ramped up its inspections, but a shipment this spring had to be destroyed on arrival to protect the island. Yesterday a batch from a 40ft container of imported bananas arrived for customers at The MarketPlace supermarket on Church Street in Hamilton.

They will be available this week at outlets throughout the island. Inspections by the department were ongoing, but the fruit checked was pest-free.

Walter Roban, the Minister of Home Affairs, credited Roland “Junior” Hill, of J&J Produce, for his persistence.

Mr Roban added: “While the bigger suppliers gave up on bananas, the farmer, Mr Hill, did not ­— and he succeeded.”

A spokesman for the supermarket chain said the coveted bananas came through a partnership with J&J Produce, which partnered with a farmer in Costa Rica to source bananas.

The supply route, which delivers a cleaner product, underwent the same inspections on arrival as unsuccessful shipments.

Mr Roban thanked DENR staff for safeguarding the island's environment and said that more details would be given today.

Seth Stutzman, president of The MarketPlace Group, said he was excited to see them back.

He added: “Our customers have been asking and asking — we went through a number of options and we're excited we can finally deliver for our customers.

“Depending on supply, our hope is to offer regular availability of bananas.”

Welcome back: the MarketPlace has received its first shipment of bananas since January. Here, MarketPlace staff Thayne Simons, centre, and Larry Berjuega put the finishing touches on a display (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
Freshly arrived: A consignment of bananas from Costa Rica after a dearth of imports lasted more than six months (Photograph supplied)
Bananas are back: MarketPlace has announced they now have bananas for sale (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
Bananas are back: MarketPlace staff Thayne Simons loads a display in the fruit section (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
Bananas are back: MarketPlace has announced they now have bananas for sale. Pictured: MarketPlace staff Larry Berjuega, left, and Thayne Simons (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
Bananas are back: MarketPlace has announced it has bananas for sale. Pictured: MarketPlace staff Larry Berjuega (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
Bananas are back: MarketPlace has announced it has bananas for sale (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
Bananas are back: MarketPlace has announced it has bananas for sale (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
Bananas are back: MarketPlace has announced it has bananas for sale. Pictured: MarketPlace staff Thayne Simons, front, and Larry Berjuega (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

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Published August 12, 2020 at 9:00 am (Updated August 12, 2020 at 3:22 pm)

They’re back! Banana bonanza hits shelves

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