They’re back! Banana bonanza hits shelves | The Royal Gazette:Bermuda News

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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.Water 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 though 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.”
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