Banana ripening is a science. Getting a banana to the perfect yellow color at just the right time is an art.
Equal Exchange Bananas come from small farms in South America. Hundreds of farmers are organized into cooperatives. Unlike conventional farms, the fruit in one container of Equal Exchange Bananas comes from many different small farms, sometimes up to 20 or 30. This can be challenging in the banana ripening process since the fruit is grown with varying environmental factors. The green, unripened Cavendish bananas arrive at the warehouse after about two weeks on a large ocean vessel. The fruit is then put into ripening rooms that can fit two shipping containers, or 2,000 boxes of bananas. The ripening rooms have precise controls for ventilation and temperature. They use the organic compound ethylene, a natural plant hormone, to help augment the natural ripening process. Finally, after a few days in the ripening room, your bunch of Equal Exchange Bananas is ready to be shipped to the store.