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FRESH In: Fair-Trade Banana Snacks

Bananas are just about perfect: sweet, creamy, and filling, self-contained inside their own soft yellow houses – perfect for tossing inside backpacks or purses. Even though I’ve been eating bananas for over thirty years, I still always associate them with the packed lunches of my youth. Mom would send me off to school with a bright orange Tupperware lunch box, handles clasped on top. Her arrangement of items was beautifully geometric – there was the squat square box with the sandwich, the little round orange tub with pineapple tidbits, the little rectangular box that had carrot sticks. And tucked to the side there was always an arching banana.

So when I have a banana today, I want to make sure that wholesome feeling I feel is a true feeling. The Nature’s All freeze dried bananas are the perfect light snack. They’re crunchy and sweet. And they’re also certified free trade – a thing that’s important to me.

Several years ago I read a book about the history of banana cultivation.  The term ‘banana republic’ referred to the roughshod way workers were sometimes treated by fruit companies. A certified Fair Trade fruit gives peace of mind, though.

Fair trade organizations began in the 1940s. But the current certified Fair Trade movement with standardized auditing didn’t begin until the late 1970s. It helps local growers gain bargaining leverage against large multi-national companies. It promotes sustainable growing methods and workplace protections – important checks in countries that often have little or no governmental oversight of their own.

The Nature’s All freeze dried fruit that I love to gnosh on are imported from Peru. They have no additives, preservatives, artificial colors, flavors or added sugar. The bananas are certified 100% organic,  Certified Fair Trade, and Certified Kosher. FRESH carries Nature’s All freeze dried strawberries and pineapples, too. All three are raw, vegan, and gluten-free.

The sweet, sticky taste of bananas will always remind me of boxed lunches on playgrounds. But knowing that the people who grew and picked my food were treated with respect and equanimity makes the fruit taste that much sweeter.