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Bananas Used To Be Totally Different In The ’50s

1. This is a Candevish banana.

This is a Candevish banana.

2. They look familiar.

They look familiar.

3. In fact, they all look basically the same.

In fact, they all look basically the same.

4. That’s because every banana is a genetic clone of all other bananas.

That's because every banana is a genetic clone of all other bananas.

They all trace their history back to one banana, and because of that, they’re all sterile. Farmers must manually cut and plant the roots to grow new fruit.

5. Which creates a genetic uniformity that is dangerous for this likable fruit.

Which creates a genetic uniformity that is dangerous for this likable fruit.

Since they’re all identical, if one banana is vulnerable, they’re all vulnerable.

6. You see, back in the 1950s, the banana people knew and loved was wiped out by disease.

You see, back in the 1950s, the banana people knew and loved was wiped out by disease.

7. These, ladies and gentlemen, are Gros Michel bananas.

These, ladies and gentlemen, are Gros Michel bananas.

8. Since becoming widely popular in the 1800s, Gros Michel was the variety you would see at the produce stand.

Since becoming widely popular in the 1800s, Gros Michel was the variety you would see at the produce stand.

9. According to legend, this kind of banana tasted way better. It was more soft and creamy.

Here is a guy tasting a Gros Michel banana. They’re still grown in some parts of Southeast Asia.

10. But a disease known as “Race 1” began to kill them off in the ’20s, and by the 1950s banana farmers had turned to the Candevish variant to meet demand.

But a disease known as "Race 1" began to kill them off in the '20s, and by the 1950s banana farmers had turned to the Candevish variant to meet demand.

11. The song “Yes, We Have No Bananas” was written about this terrible crisis.

12. Now, a similar disease is after the Candevish. It’s already devastated farms in Asia, the Pacific, and Australia.

Now, a similar disease is after the Candevish. It's already devastated farms in Asia, the Pacific, and Australia.

Researchers say there’s little doubt that “Race 4” will travel to South and Latin America, where the vast majority of bananas are grown for export to the United States.

13. Again, Gros Michel:

Again, Gros Michel:

14. Candevish:

Candevish:

15. What strange new variety will we get next?

What strange new variety will we get next?

If “Race 4” runs its evil course, that is, and kills off our familiar banana.

16. Will it even taste OK??

Will it even taste OK??

17. Whatever happens, we’ll all get through it together, guys.

Bananas Used To Be Totally Different In The '50s
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