Bananas pack a healthy punch.
This may help to explain why they are the UK’s most popular fruit. On average we each eat ten kilogrammes of bananas every year. That is about 100 typical bananas, like those in the picture above, the sort we are used to seeing sold in the UK and Europe.
Cyprus bananas are mostly grown in the Paphos region of the island where you may see them growing in groves as you drive along the highway. One of the things that you will notice is that the young, forming fruit are covered with blue plastic bags. I used to assume that the bags are used to protect the fruit in some way. I now know that the bags will have been supplied, impregnated with biocides designed to protect the ripening crop. The bananas themselves tend to be about one third the size of the fruit we are used to buying in Europe. That means to eat the same annual weight you would need to consume around two hundred and fifty Cyprus bananas a year!
If you enjoy a banana and have any concern with regard to sustainability, you will surely be pleased to know that they are grown here on Cyprus. This leads to a sizeable reduction in transport costs arising from locally grown produce.
Cyprus Bananas and Health
Rather like the old saying ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’, the banana also has some healthy properties. Bananas are an excellent source of potassium and supply vitamin B6, fibre and carbohydrate, and some vitamin C. Since they have a lower water content than most fruit, bananas typically have more calories as well as a higher sugar content compared to other non-tropical fruits.
It is certainly the case that the Cyprus banana has a noticeably sweet, distinctive taste. You really should try at least one during your stay.
By now you are probably wondering where you can buy local bananas, read on.
You will see trucks loaded with bananas on the highway heading for the markets in Larnaca, Limassol and Nicosia. At the daily markets you can buy bananas in season. In the super markets they are also on offer when in season. One truck, piled high with bananas for sale, can frequently be spotted parked alongside the highway at the roundabout where the A2 meets the Agia Napa to Larnaca airport highway on the outskirts of the city. It seems an unlikely place to stop and buy bananas but people clearly do!
Check out our Cyprus Bananas Top Ten Tips (ideal info for pub quizzes)
Shopping For Bananas In Maroni
Here in Maroni the best place to shop for local bananas was at Koula’s fruitaria which was located next door to Rebecca’s garden and plant centre on the beach road at the junction with the road from Maroni. Just 250 metres down from Lemon Gardens Restaurant. Koula stocked all manner of fresh fruit and locally grown vegetables. Much produce comes directly from their own land which is situated around the shop. Sadly Koulla ceased trading in 2019. Fortunately there is a fruitaria at the Zygi / Kalavassos junction if you are heading in that direction. Alternatively the strawberry growers (on the beach road towards Kiti and Larnaca) have expanded their offering, I noticed in January 2020. I would expect them to have a supply of bananas generally available along with other fruit and vegetables. Clearly there is an element of seasonality, however Cyprus receives so much sunshine, bananas seem to be a virtually year round crop.