From Farm to Table: Inside the Journey of a Banana

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How do bananas go from a farm to your table?

Inside Edition traveled to Ecuador, the world's largest exporter of bananas, to learn about how the fruit is grown.

It takes nine months for bananas to grow to their full size. During that time, they are covered in plastic bags to protect them from any nasty critters. 

"You do not want any of those bugs or insects arriving into the United States," Anthony Serafino, vice president of banana importer Exp Group, told Inside Edition. 

So what does the perfect banana look like? According to Serafino, it's 8 inches in length and can "easily be ripened." 

Workers cut the bananas down once they reach full size and then haul the bundle of bananas with padded carriers to keep the fruit safe. The bundle is then attached to a cable system, which sends the bananas to the packaging facility at the center of the farm. 

The bananas are washed and then put into a production line, where the stickers are applied to each bundle of fruit. For our report, Inside Edition got its own special stickers to track our very own bananas from Ecuador all the way to New York City. 

The Inside Edition bananas spent two weeks at sea before they arrived at a snowy port in Red Hook, Brooklyn. 

The container with the bananas is off-loaded from the ship and taken to Exp Group's headquarters, where the bananas are ripened. Turns out, even after two weeks at sea, they're still pretty green, a long way from that bright yellow color that indicates they're ready to eat. 

To ripen the bananas quickly, they're loaded into a room that's pumped full of humid air and ethylene, a ripening hormone, which speeds the process along. According to Serafino, it takes anywhere from 72 hours to the 96 hours for the bananas to fully mature. 

Once mature, the bananas are delivered to grocery store shelves. We asked a customer to give the Inside Edition bananas a taste. 

"Very sweet!" she said.

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