From the plant to your table

Kelly Schiro

Students may be surprised to see what a banana plant actually looks like or where chocolate comes from. These are some facts of how they get to your table.


  • Pollinated by bats
  • Bananas are berries that grow upward
  • They are harvested immaturely 
  • Ethylene gas improves ripening
  • They were cut from the stalk about two or three weeks before they are bought


  • Comes from seeds
  • Fruit is ready when it changes from green to a red or yellowish color
  • Fruit is cracked open lengthwise
  • Seeds are dried, washed and fermented
  • Seeds are roasted in the oven at the manufacturer
  • They are then compressed to give two products cocoa solids and lipids that become cocoa butter


  • Juice comes from the aril surrounding the seed
  • Normally about the size of a softball
  • Harvested before they’re mature
  • When mature they crack open
  • Wall of fruit is tough

You can see the plants listed here as well as hundreds of others, including cotton and oranges at the Bessey Greenhouse 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Fridays on the roof of Bessey Hall.

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