The Best Writing About Bananas

updated: 18th September, 2019

Every day, The Browser editor reads hundreds of articles and selects and summarises the finest five (on every topic under the sun). Here’s the best work we’ve ever seen about bananas:


Save The Banana

Matt Reynolds | Wired | 11th October 2018

There are more than 1,000 varieties of banana in the world, but 99% of those grown for export are of a single variety, Cavendish; and now the Cavendish is threatened by a lethal fungus which looks set to wipe it out worldwide. “Two to nine months after being infected, the plant – hollowed out from the inside – collapses in on itself. The soil it grew in, now riddled with the fungus, is useless for growing bananas”. Gene-editing could produce a fungus-resistant Cavendish. So might a banana crisis be the moment that persuades consumers to embrace genetically-modified food? (4,800 words)


Tales From The Supply Chain: Bananas

Dan Wang | Flexport | 15th December 2015

Supermarket bananas are all the same, genetically speaking — clones of a strain called Cavendish, now doomed by a fungal disease. "In a few years you won’t be able to find the bananas you like now. It’s happened before. Your grandparents grew up eating the Gros Michel, a creamier, fruitier banana that was wiped out by a similar disease." The Gros Michel also had a slippery skin — hence our legacy of banana-skin jokes (1,650 words)


Mark Twain’s Portfolio

Matt Seybold | Mark Twain Studies | 29th May 2019

Mark Twain was even more cynical in his investments than in his writing — thanks to which, he died a rich man. He put his money into companies that were “making the world a worse place, but which he expected to flourish expressly because they adopted a business model he found morally reprehensible”. He made a small fortune from his shares in United Fruit Company, notorious even then for its ruthlessness abroad. “He could, at least, reap monetary reward from the geopolitical agenda which enraged him” (2,170 words)


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