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California's banana harvest.

At the first Thanksgiving, Plymouth Colony Pilgrims feasted on turkey, venison, and Indian corn. But around La Conchita, California, the Thanksgiving repast often includes bananas--from Kaulaus to Blue Javas to Ae Aes. These and other bounteous bunches grow at California's first commercial banana plantation, Seaside Banana Garden. Seaside began when owners Paul Turner and Doug Richardson noticed that La Conchita, on the coast just above Ventura, had never recorded a single night of frost. Having discovered a banana belt, they figured, why not grow bananas? In the eight years since, the thermometer has not always been kind--the bananas got clobbered by the killer cold snap of December 1990. But most years, La Conchita's Pacific-tempered microclimate provides a warm haven for 50 varieties, with peak production running from May into November. Which is why this month, as Southern Californians go over the river and through the woods to grandmother's house or wherever, they can arrive laden with a uniquely Western harvest.
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Title Annotation:Window on the West
Article Type:Illustration
Date:Nov 1, 1993
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