Neville Singh bananas

Local banana grower Neville Singh says his customers like their bananas in all shapes and sizes.

St Helena banana grower Neville Singh says his customers like their bananas in all shapes and sizes.

Long, short, fat, thin, curvy, straight, double and even triple. Every banana size and shape imaginable, Neville Singh has it, and that’s how he – and his customers – like it.

The variety of bananas on the St Helena banana grower’s farmers’ market stall is a stark contrast to the stock standard size and shape you find in the supermarkets – whose restrictions contribute to up to 40% of bananas on big farms being thrown away.

“Some people come here and they only want the fat ones, then you’ll get another lot who only want skinny ones. The parents like the smaller ones because they’re easier to fit in the lunchbox and the kids don’t waste any bananas.

“I bring a bit of everything so everyone’s got a choice,” Neville said.

Those that Neville doesn’t sell at the market go to local cafes and bakeries, where they are used in smoothies and banana bread.

“There’s no wastage at all really,” he said.

Neville, whose family have farmed in the Byron/Tweed area for more than 100 years, also offers his customers some more unusual varieties alongside his Cavendish and Lady Fingers, including Plantain, Blue Java, Ducasse and Red Dacca. They have proved so popular that he has recently planted more.

“People are very keen on them, especially the Red Dacca. It’s a bit more of a creamier banana and people have got the taste for them.”

Known for their quality, consistency and flavour, Neville says his bananas – like others grown on the North Coast – are naturally sweeter because of the local climate.  Bananas grown in North Queensland grow bigger and quicker, but the slower ripening time for local bananas mean the sugars have time to fully develop.

“In this area we don’t grow them fast, but we get all our nutrition in and that makes them sweeter,” he said.

• Find Neville Singh at the Mullumbimby Farmers Market every Friday.

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