Sweet, tasty and only $1/kg
THEY may be slightly marked, doubled or small but Bob Pratt’s bananas are undeniably sweet, locally sourced and at $1 a kilogram, so popular a limit of 2kg per person or family ensures enjoyment can be shared.
In a remarkable contrast to the Woolworths giant, where bananas can be $2.50 each, Mr Pratt has been selling fruit and vegetables from his garage on West High St for 40 years and his bananas remain at $1, rain, hail or cyclone.
Taste is more important than appearance, as Mr Pratt’s “Sorry no bananas” sign is testament to. A customer walked in and sighed when she saw the sign. “Looks like the girls will have to wait,” she said pointing to her kids.
Mr Pratt said he had a truck coming in with bananas today and that many expectant regulars would roll up before the truck could roll out.
“People were buying 20kg at a time so we had to put a limit on the quantity people could buy in one go otherwise there would be none left for our regulars," Mr Pratt said.
“We get the marked, small or double bananas from local growers and that helps to keep the price constant.”
Mr Pratt said the prices should level out in the coming months, which be welcomed by John Cunningham, who has just put up the prices at his Pacific Highway banana stall to $7/kg - and he is losing money to do it.
If the veteran Boambee banana grower sent his fruit to the capital city markets he would be making $120 a 13kg carton (more than $9.20 per kg).
He continues to supply the shop to keep faith with his regular customers and had to up the local prices to stop tourists clearing out the stall and leaving his shelves empty.
“It was hurting the locals,” Mr Cunningham said.
There are none of the bunches of bananas hanging on show at the stall which once tempted travellers to take home a hefty edible souvenir.
“They’re too dear. We only do that when there is a glut and then we sell our bananas at $1.20/kg.”
He said after Cyclone Larry in March 2006 they had been forced to restrict sales to a maximum of 2kg per customer to discourage reselling, but this time they had simply put an extra dollar on the prices.
Mr Cunningham said trade was brisk and there had been no grizzling.
He said they had divided the bananas into smaller hands, because people were buying just what they needed immediately – four or five bananas.