Idea #709 – Following Banana Cultivation in Retalhuleu Guatemala
Finca Santa Elena is a family farm of 172 hectares divided into three sections: Santa Elena and two annexes (San Francisco and San Rafael). Since 1936, the farm belongs to the Rivera family of Quetzaltenango. Shade-grown coffee and bananas have been the main crops for almost a century. Smaller crops include: coconuts, bamboo, carpentry and firewood, plantains and various fruits. Due to low coffee prices, which collapsed in 2002-03, the farm sought to diversify its income by introducing a dried fruit industry. The banana, by its production volumes, its taste qualities, its ease of preparation, has become a flagship product of the Finca. Once ripened, the bananas are opened, disinfected, and placed in a solar dryer, which ensures perfect natural dehydration. The Finca has thus been able to reconnect with a thousand-year-old culinary tradition in Guatemala.
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