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Old 08-18-2013, 10:19 AM   #1 (permalink)
 
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Default Bluefield Banana Variety (Hawaii)?

Hello,

Newbie here and wanted to ask a question related to a banana variety my father used to eat growing up in Hawaii. He said it was called Bluefield and the fruit was likely close to the "regular" sized supermarket variety (larger than the Apple Bananas).

Google search turns up very little on this variety aside from the fact that it might be prone to disease.

Does anyone know anything about this type of banana?

Thanks!
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Old 08-18-2013, 10:46 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bluefield Banana Variety (Hawaii)?

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Old 08-18-2013, 10:53 AM   #3 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Bluefield Banana Variety (Hawaii)?

Bluefield is a type of Gros Michel. Gros Michels used to be the supermarket standard up until the 50's when Panama disease decimated them and made commercial production impractical. Cocos and Highgate are two other types of Gros Michel (all 3 types are said to taste the same).

Gros Michels were replaced by various types of Cavendish bananas (such as Dwarf Cavendish, Grand Nain, Williams, Valery, etc). The Dole & Chiquita bananas you see taking up the most space at stores now are Cavendish types.

Gros Michel bananas are genetically similar to Cavendish (both are AAA), and both make big yellow fruit, but Gros Michel fruits are widely considered to be vastly superior in flavor.

One of our members in San Diego, Jon at Encanto Farms (here's a direct link to his availability page with contact info), sells Cocos. I've bought one from him, and it was a big healthy plant. If you can get one of those and get it to flourish (which may need some help since it's extremely cold sensitive), the fruit would taste like the Bluefields of your Dad's youth.
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Old 08-18-2013, 02:51 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bluefield Banana Variety (Hawaii)?

It was called Bluefields in Hawaii because they were initially brought from the port town of Bluefields, Nicaragua.
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Old 08-18-2013, 08:29 PM   #5 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Bluefield Banana Variety (Hawaii)?

Thanks everyone for the info (definitely much more informative than Google). I'll pass this along to my Dad (I think he was curious if it would grow here in LA). Talking to him today, he mentioned that it wasn't even commonly found in Kaneohe (western side of Oahu), but his father planted a handful of plants alongside his house.
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Old 08-18-2013, 11:05 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bluefield Banana Variety (Hawaii)?

I don't think Gros Michel types are very fond of our winters. They are quite cold sensitive. It's worth a try though, especially since you're closer to the coast.
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Old 03-30-2014, 07:00 AM   #7 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Bluefield Banana Variety (Hawaii)?

Quote:
Originally Posted by GreenFin View Post
Bluefield is a type of Gros Michel. Gros Michels used to be the supermarket standard up until the 50's when Panama disease decimated them and made commercial production impractical. Cocos and Highgate are two other types of Gros Michel (all 3 types are said to taste the same).

Gros Michels were replaced by various types of Cavendish bananas (such as Dwarf Cavendish, Grand Nain, Williams, Valery, etc). The Dole & Chiquita bananas you see taking up the most space at stores now are Cavendish types.

Gros Michel bananas are genetically similar to Cavendish (both are AAA), and both make big yellow fruit, but Gros Michel fruits are widely considered to be vastly superior in flavor.

One of our members in San Diego, Jon at Encanto Farms (here's a direct link to his availability page with contact info), sells Cocos. I've bought one from him, and it was a big healthy plant. If you can get one of those and get it to flourish (which may need some help since it's extremely cold sensitive), the fruit would taste like the Bluefields of your Dad's youth.
are you sure cocos and highgate are the same flavor and yield wise as bluefields? I live in hawaii and I am looking for the real deal bluefields. did you have a picture of your cocos? is it similar in growth/yield to bluefields? thanks for any info!
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Old 03-30-2014, 09:19 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bluefield Banana Variety (Hawaii)?

Quote:
Originally Posted by robguz24 View Post
It was called Bluefields in Hawaii because they were initially brought from the port town of Bluefields, Nicaragua.
It kinda seems strange they would be brought from a Caribbean Port prior to the Panama Canal being built, a Pacific Port in Nicaragua seems more likely.
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Old 03-30-2014, 02:05 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bluefield Banana Variety (Hawaii)?

That does seem strange, but that's the story in the Kepler & Rust book anyway. They were introduced in 1903 and in 1904 a steamship from Bluefields brought 130 large corms.
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Old 08-28-2015, 11:49 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bluefield Banana Variety (Hawaii)?

Quote:
Originally Posted by robguz24 View Post
That does seem strange, but that's the story in the Kepler & Rust book anyway. They were introduced in 1903 and in 1904 a steamship from Bluefields brought 130 large corms.
Rob could you check if there are any references in the book for the source.

This never made any sense and I was reading a 1904 paper that stated that they were introduced in early 1903 and again later that same year. A later paper stated the 1904 shipment of 130 corms sailed from San Francisco.
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Old 08-29-2015, 07:45 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bluefield Banana Variety (Hawaii)?

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It kinda seems strange they would be brought from a Caribbean Port prior to the Panama Canal being built, a Pacific Port in Nicaragua seems more likely.

They probably shipped them across the country.
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Old 08-29-2015, 08:16 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bluefield Banana Variety (Hawaii)?

Quote:
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They probably shipped them across the country.
Actually they were shipped to New Orleans and railed to San Francisco.

They were probably just included in a larger shipment of corms from the Puerto Rico Experimental Station.

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Old 08-29-2015, 11:00 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bluefield Banana Variety (Hawaii)?

The book doesn't give references and is designed to be consumer friendly and only has minimal endnotes. It was introduced in 1903 by a agriculturalist at the Territorial Board of Agriculture and Forestry in Hilo, with 130 corms brought in the next year. While Dwarf Cavendish was grown, the book states that Williams was brought here in 1954 and became the predominant replacement for GM groves that were decimated around 1950, although there were signs of Panama Disease by 1911 here. Cultivation was under 500 acres by 1969, mostly not on Oahu.
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Old 08-29-2015, 11:59 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bluefield Banana Variety (Hawaii)?

Quote:
Originally Posted by brunana View Post
Thanks everyone for the info (definitely much more informative than Google). I'll pass this along to my Dad (I think he was curious if it would grow here in LA). Talking to him today, he mentioned that it wasn't even commonly found in Kaneohe (western side of Oahu), but his father planted a handful of plants alongside his house.
Does this plant look like the plants his father planted alongside their house? I got this plant from "FHN" Florida, so I'm not sure it is the real plant. The plant likes it here in Long Beach so far. I will see how it looks when it gets cold in January or February.




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Old 08-29-2015, 02:08 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bluefield Banana Variety (Hawaii)?

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It was introduced in 1903 by a agriculturalist at the Territorial Board of Agriculture and Forestry in Hilo, with 130 corms brought in the next year.
Report prior to December 26, 1904

Introduced by Mr. Philip Peck of Hilo early in 1903, and again by the Board of Agriculture and Forestry at the close of the same year.



Report after December 26, 1904

It was introduced into Hawaii early in 1903 by Philip Peck, of Hilo, and by the Territorial Board of Agriculture and Forestry near the close of the same year. The following year the station introduced 130 "heads," or bases of large suckers, from the port of Bluefields, Nicaragua. These reached Honolulu December 26, 1904, via New Orleans and San Francisco. After this introduction the banana was generally known as the Bluefields (No. 4544).

Quote:
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While Dwarf Cavendish was grown, the book states that Williams was brought here in 1954 and became the predominant replacement for GM groves that were decimated around 1950...
Should be easy enough to check.
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Old 08-29-2015, 06:27 PM   #16 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Bluefield Banana Variety (Hawaii)?

Hi Susan,

I'll see if he can give me a positive ID on your pics. Guessing he likely won't remember too many details since this was about 40+ years ago. I'll report back with any info.
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Old 08-29-2015, 11:15 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bluefield Banana Variety (Hawaii)?

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They were probably just included in a larger shipment of corms from the Puerto Rico Experimental Station.
I don't know...that station would have been relatively new at that time.
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Old 08-30-2015, 08:20 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bluefield Banana Variety (Hawaii)?

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I don't know...that station would have been relatively new at that time.
Puerto Rico has been growing bananas for hundreds of years and had Hawaii placed their corm order prior to the establishment of the Federal Experiment Station in 1901, the order would have been processed and shipped from a non-Federal Station.

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Old 08-30-2015, 12:38 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bluefield Banana Variety (Hawaii)?

Was Bluefields in Puerto Rico at the time? I would think it more likely that PR would have had Highgate from Jamaica.
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Old 08-30-2015, 02:54 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bluefield Banana Variety (Hawaii)?

Quote:
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Was Bluefields in Puerto Rico at the time?
Yes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nicolas Naranja View Post
I would think it more likely that PR would have had Highgate from Jamaica.
Why?


@Nick...what year do you think the Highgate mutation is believed to have first appeared?
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