Clean, quality fruit was the hallmark of the banana exhibit at the 2018 Murwillumbah Show.
The Tweed Brunswick Banana Growers’ Association was behind the event, organising $5000 in prizes for growers, as well as plenty of merchandise and fruit for punters passing through.
“Bananas have been part of the area for generations,” BGA President Colin Singh said.
“My great-grandfather grew bananas around here. There are guys who have banana patches around 100 years old.”
Judging was completed before the gates opened, with David Peasley, Matt Weinert and Greg Bradshaw taking on the tough job.
“The quality of lady fingers in the bunches and hands was excellent, I think,” Mr Peasley said. “All the bunches were also cleaner than usual, which was great to see.”
Mr Weinert also noted the alternative varieties involved, including Pacific Plantains.
“There’s a bit of a market for them and it’s good to see growers looking at something different.”
In fact, Mr Peasley believes there’ll be more of this as time goes on.
“We’ve also got a display of new varieties here and I think this will be a big thing in the future.
The industry is moving away from Cavendish, particularly in the subtropics.”
Judging since 1976, Mr Peasley said it was great to see the event still going, paying tribute to the BGA for putting in the effort.
Greg Bradshaw said he hoped more local growers would get involved in years to come.
“It provides more of a sense of community,” he said.
“They have a good product and this is where you learn what other farmers around you are producing. This is how you can lift your standards higher.”
Mr Singh, along with Zac and Ethan McKeever, spent the show days giving out donated fruit and merchandise to kids – but said the older generations really get on board.
“We had people come last year and tell us that their grandparents, or parents, used to grow bananas nearby. They were happy to see it represented at the show again. This town’s not just sugarcane, it’s bananas and cattle too.”
As for next year? It’s definitely worth having a crack.
“We’ve got prizes for first, second and third and you’re only allowed to enter once per category. Everyone is in with a chance and more fruit ups the competition.”
Fruit from the banana display is sold after the Show, with money donated to charity.