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Jim Boxberger - Correspondent
Posted 2/7/20

As I sit and write this week, I am eating a fresh picked banana. Now you might wonder where on earth did I get fresh picked banana, but a better question would be, where on earth am I. Well, it just …

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As I sit and write this week, I am eating a fresh picked banana. Now you might wonder where on earth did I get fresh picked banana, but a better question would be, where on earth am I. Well, it just so happens that I am down at my mom's house in Florida.

Many years ago, my dad planted a (just one) banana tree. I say just one because with bananas that is all you need. When a banana grows and produces a bunch of bananas, typically 150 to 250 at a time, after the last of the bunch has been harvested you cut it down.

From the stump, two or three new banana trees will start to grow, so in a couple of years you could easily have hundreds of banana trees. For years when we would visit we would either be too early or too late to get any ripe bananas off the tree.

Unlike bananas up north in the grocery store which are picked green so that by the time they hit the shelves they are ripe, you pick fresh bananas when they are yellow. And one little trick that will keep your bananas fresher longer is to keep the cut end of the banana in a bowl of water. This will keep them from turning brown much longer.

My parents would have so many bananas that they would just give them away, because you can't freeze or can them like other fruits. No one has come up with banana jam or jelly. So you have to eat them before they start to turn and the fresher they are the better they are. But how many bananas can you eat before you are just bananad out? That is what happens to so many people that have fruit trees or berry bushes, we just don't appreciate what we have.

Down here in Florida you can go on a drive and see many homes with orange and grapefruit trees so full of fruit with excess laying on the ground. Coconuts float by down the canal that goes by the house, fallen from the many coconut palms that are practically in everyone's yard.

No one picks them up, they are just considered trash. And when it comes time for tree trimming clean-up day, there are piles of dates (the type you eat, not the type you go on) just laying on the curb waiting for the sanitation department to pick them up and take them to the mulcher.

Home turnover in the retire' capitol of the world is fairly high, so many trees that were planted twenty years ago by one homeowner are now being cared for by another. I am sure the person who planted the date palm, actually wanted dates.

Avocados are another popular fruit that just get thrown away down here. A house that was sold last year just up the street from my moms house had a huge avocado tree out in front and the new owners chopped nearly two-thirds of the tree away.

Sure it will let more light into the house now, but when it is ninety-five degrees in July, I am sure the shade would be nice. Lemons, limes, tangerines, kumquats and star fruit are just some of the fruit that goes to waste when people just get tired of it.

But it is not just down south that this sort of thing happens. Every fall up north tons of apples go to waste as we let them rot on the ground or get eaten by the deer because we just didn't want them anymore.

The same thing happens with pears, cherries, plums, blueberries and many others, we just let them rot or feed the wildlife. Sure we give plenty away to family and friends, but even they can only use so much. We produce so much, but use so little.

We take care of these trees with our time, love and tenderness, but when they return the love with a large bounty in return we turn a blind eye. Sure we use what we want but what happens to the rest is the real issue.

Luckily with my mom's bananas they do not ripen all at once, as the bunch matures from the top down, you can just cut off the hunk that is ripe and let the rest continue to grow. And unlike store bought bananas up north, these fresh bananas fresh off the tree are free for the picking.


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