There is a lot that goes into fruit production in Taiwan and one Saturday this April I was invited to join the banana harvest.
Chen Po Hau’s father is a professional banana farmer. Together they told me a lot about how the fruits come to maturity, starting as a large bud at the top of the plant and ripening to massive clusters, filling out till no “ribs” stand out, then being harvested just before they turn yellow. Each tree bore a single crop after a short eight month season; now it was harvest time.
To harvest the bananas, his father cut an X in the tough outer “bark” allowing it to bend over. Starting at the end of the cluster he then cut off one bunch at a time. From the smallest bananas at the end, the bananas gradually increased in size as well as number–up to 25 bananas in one bunch.
They gave me the chance to try as well. So here in the picture you can see my first bunch coming off the stalk. The stalk was as fibrous as sugarcane and hard to cut at first … but eventually I got the hang of it.
Afterward we visited another garden where lemons, mangos and mulberries were growing. And one more surprise was in store for that morning: there in the undergrowth I was afforded, for the first time, excellent views of the common but hard-to-see Barred Buttonquail.
So as you can see in southern Taiwan weekends as well as weekdays can be tremendously educational, enjoyable and, well, fruitful and productive!