At this time of year, when my vitamin D stores are low, the easiest way to ensure I’m not a slug is to eat a banana every day.
Imagine my dismay, then, to learn that the current commercially monocultured Cavendish bananas are threatened by a soil fungus — Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense. If it spreads throughout the major banana growing regions, in 10-20 years, the plantations could be wiped out. Or, even worse, the producers could resort to a genetically modified resistant variety, which some researchers are feverishly working to identify.
It’s heartening to know that so many other of my favorite foods are also rich sources of potassium. If I have to give up bananas, I can resort to a cornucopia of alternatives, many of which we grow: beans, potatoes with skin, dark leafy greens, winter squash, beets, raisins, prunes (if our plum tree ever produces), tomatoes, Brussels sprouts — even cucumbers if you eat the skins.
If that day comes, when the Cavendish goes the way of the Dodo, I may have to think about where my potassium is coming from, rather than just grab a banana.
But depending on the time of year, I can just head out to the garden and find what I need.