Going Bananas Over Bananas
The average American today eats about 33 pounds of bananas a year. The banana is the most popular fruit in the United States. More bananas are eaten each year than oranges or apples.
Bananas are an ancient fruit. They were mentioned in writings as far back as 600 B.C. Yet, less than 130 years ago, people in the United States had never seen or eaten a banana. That is because they grow only in tropical climates. In the past, they couldn’t be shipped long distances because they spoil quickly.
In 1870, a ship returned to Massachusetts from a voyage to Jamaica. It is an island near South America. The captain brought back a load of green bananas. After 17 days on board, the bananas had ripened to a bright yellow. The captain gave them to people in Boston. They loved them. Whenever he made the trip, the captain brought back more bananas for the local people.
In 1876, Philadelphia became 100 years old. They had a big celebration. It was called the Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition. It was there on June 5th that bananas were first offered to the general public. They were sold for 10 cents each. From then on, people wanted bananas.
Today, bringing bananas to the United States has become a big business. Huge banana plantations are located in the tropical countries of the world. Improved trans portation makes it possible to deliver bananas to grocery stores at just the right stage of ripeness.
. tropical: 热带的。
. spoil: （食物）变坏，变质。
. Massachusetts: 马萨诸塞州，美国州名；voyage: 航海，航行；Jamaica: 牙买加，是拉丁美洲岛国。
. ripen: （谷物、果实等）成熟。
. Philadelphia: 费城，美国宾西法尼亚州东南部港市。
. Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition: 费城百年博览会。
. plantation: （热带或亚热带的）种植园。
. grocery store: 食品杂货店。