A family business in Wamuran has been supplying certified organic bananas to the Australian market since 2011. Kym Daniells is owner operator of two certified organic farms in Wamuran, Moreton Bay region, with approximately 40 acres of land dedicated to growing 15 different varieties of organic bananas.
Kym grows everything from popular varieties like Cavendish, ducasse, gold finger and lady finger, through to more exotic varieties such as the difficult to grow Red Dacca and the striking Blue Java
(which tastes like vanilla ice cream!) plus many varieties of Plantains.
For bananas, the organic growing process takes approximately nine months from flowering to harvest, depending on the fruit variety. Each banana plant will only produce one ‘bunch’, which equates to about 70 bananas. Once harvested the plant is cut to 1 metre high, allowing its water content to irrigate the offshoots that grow alongside the dying plant. With time, the plant will die and new plants will grow in the immediate area. Kym refers to multiple plants growing in the same area as a ‘site’; as of 2023, she has about 7500 sites across her farms.
There is a lot of manual work involved in banana growing, with proactive weed control a necessity. To avoid bird damage and sunburn, it is common for farmers to cover their banana bunches with a plastic bag known as a bunch cover. Kym has implemented a process where she rotates using different coloured bags, to keep track of which bunches are ready to be harvested.
Once harvested, bananas are stored in a temperature controlled cool room to allow them to ripen, a process which can take up to 4 days. Banana plants are highly susceptible to diseases such as banana bunchy top virus (BBTV). Kym, as a long term grower, is aware that education is required about purchasing plants for your own backyard as it can form a bridge for airborne aphids that spread BBTV to commercial farms.
The business supplies a wide client base, including large wholesales such as Eco-Farms Sydney and organic stores such as Flannery’s and Kunara Organic Marketplace, as well as wholesaler Melba Organics in Melbourne.
A recent side project for Kym is ‘Chunky Monkey Banana Bites’, certified organic freeze-dried banana treats that make for a great healthy snack for children and adults. Chunky Monkey products are currently available at the Northey Street organic markets in Windsor, and will soon be available online. Those looking to contact Kim about distribution can reach out via email.