The people at Top Banana — the largest vendors of Dole bananas in the North East — have developed a complex system for ripening bananas from all over the world to perfection.
Daniel Barabino, head of Top Banana’s strategy and operations: “The produce industry is not the most technologically advanced. We had a custom system for decades that worked great, but didn’t work as good as it could, so we made a huge investment in our internal software.” He is talking about the temperature controlled rooms where bananas get moved throughout the ripening process, during which a fluctuation of even half a degree can make a difference.
Every day at 5 a.m., trucks unload hundreds of boxes of bananas from all over the world. A few bananas from each truck are punctured with a pulp thermometer to check their internal temperature, then hauled off into temperature and pressure-controlled rooms. These rooms are then pumped with ethylene gas — the same gas emitted from fruit as they begin to ripen — to begin a uniformed ripening process.
Once they’re ripe, they’re kept in a room with the ideal temperature of 58 degrees. The fruit is then examined, and sent out to grocery stores, for home delivery, and restaurants.