Probably bananas were one of the first super foods if it is about running. They are easy to digest, plenty of energy and full of potassium, an important electrolyte. Even if over the last decade gels, power pars and isotonic drinks became more and more popular, bananas are still one of the prime staples for runners. It will not be different in the upcoming Triangle Adventure, but there is one exception, the story behind the bananas of the Azores Trail Run.
Organic banana farming in Faial
The Azores are as far south as south as Sicily and surrounded by Atlantic Ocean, thus having a subtropical climate. Bananas are a typical subtropical fruit and the grow well on the southern slopes of Faial. The production on Faial is exclusively for local consumption and some “export” to Pico and São Jorge.
There are a couple of larger producers and a novelty since last year, one small organic producer. The Plantation Faial is situated in Feteira, the best place for growing bananas, and has converted to organic production. The producer only uses self made fertilizers and plant protection. Bugs and fungi, both of them like bananas, do not like the fermented chilies and garlic sprays. It seems that not only vampires dislike these juices.
Bananas are actually not trees but giant herbs. The fruits grow on pseudo stems and depending on the climate reach maturity after 9 to 12 months. Once harvested, the stem is cut and the next generation grows from pups that emerge from the root bulb. Bananas pretty easy to maintain, during the growth period dead leaves are trimmed and dry flower buds clipped to avoid rotting. Harvesting bananas when they are still green, or once yellow and mature? Even in organic agriculture bananas are harvested when the fruits are still green but by their shape mature. The main reason for harvesting green is that the bunches rarely ripe evenly, thus at the top the fruits are yellow but at the bottom still green. After harvesting the ripe bananas turn yellow and reach full sweetness within about a week. So don’t be surprised if in the shops of Faial you will find green bananas.
The bananas of the Azores Trail Run
The bananas of the Azores Trail Run have already been harvested for the Faial stage of the Triangle Adventure. That’s one of the things that make the Azores Trail Run events unique, you get power food harvested right next to the race track. Right now the bananas are stored in a dark place to reach full maturity and develop their taste and benefit for the runners. Soon we will post an update on the process, follow us on social media to check out for news on how they are.