banana stories

It may be Fairtrade Fortnight, but here at Riverford we do our best to ensure everyone we work with gets treated fairly all of the time. Our bananas are grown by a co-operative of small scale farmers in the Dominican Republic, and in the same way that our co-op of growers here in the UK shares equipment and growing know-how, so the farmers in the Banelino co-op band together to compete with the privately owned plantations. We choose to buy from them as it ensures that a fair share of the profit goes back to the local people who grow the fruit.

There is more to the Banelino co-op than simply shared logistics though. As well as being organic, our bananas are also Fairtrade. This means we pay an extra $1 for every 18kg box which goes directly back to the community, via Banelino. Some is used to improve the farms, the rest funds social projects like schools and healthcare provision for the farmers, their families and their workers. This includes one of only two schools for children with special needs in the entire country.

After being packed into boxes on the farms, the bananas travel north to the port at Monte Cristi. After a nine day voyage to Portsmouth they are taken to the Fyffes ripening rooms in Basingstoke, before reaching us at the Riverford farms. When they get to you, just pop them in your fruit bowl if they are still a little green and they will ripen pretty swiftly. After that, it’s packed lunches, banana bread, banoffee pie; all the tastier for knowing the story behind them.

want to work for Riverford?
We are currently expanding our team at Riverford’s Upper Norton Farm in Hampshire. We’re looking for customer service sales agents, a shows and events co-ordinator and a shows and events assistant. If you are interested, please email your CV to lilliegolding@riverford.co.uk, or call 01803 762 046 for more information. You can also find a job description on our website at www.riverford.co.uk/jobs.