BANANA PLANTS GROW like people. A white banana corm planted beneath the soil can give life to endless generations of banana plants. The corm sprouts into a pseudostem, a stem composed of leaf sheaths. A flower stalk grows from the top of the corm up through the stem to eventually break through the plant’s top leaves and grow into a banana bunch. Simultaneously the corm grows another pseudostem, a sucker stem, and when it’s mature, the corm sprouts another pseudostem sucker. When I was a child, Grandfather explained to me that “you see grandma, you see daughter and you see granddaughter, moving up the hill … they’re a generation, once you cut that bunch, grandma dies and the next generation begins”.
Grandfather was thinking of his next generation when he bought land in the Nambucca Valley and planted his first banana corm in 1959. He’d planned for the banana plantation to be a family business, for him, his sons and their sons. He worked hard to establish his reputation as a producer of premium bananas and, with the help of Grannie and Dad, he succeeded. At the local shows’ agricultural competitions they won “champion case of bananas” twelve times, “king banana” six times, best “banana hand” four times, best “carton of bananas” two times and “most successful exhibitor” three times. Grannie holds the record for packing the best case of bananas. “It got the most points that’s ever been given at the Macksville Show. I think it scored 98 points,” Grandfather says.
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