I’m sure you’re familiar with the age-old adage that an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but apples have nothing on bananas. So, what can a banana do? When you buy a case from Organics Unlimited, quite a lot!
One load a week of bananas goes a long way, and we’re not just talking about nutrition. Part of the proceeds from GROW bananas are used to fund Project Amigo in Mexico. Founded more than 30 years ago, Project Amigo is a program designed to aid the people of the Mexican state of Colima where many Organics Unlimited’s GROW bananas are grown. There are many ways in which the funds are administered, but let’s follow the paths the proceeds from a single container of GROW bananas can follow in the donations to Project Amigo.
Our first stop is to the University, where 7 scholarships are awarded to deserving students without the resources for a higher education. For those struggling to make ends meet, simply having a scholarship is often not enough. That’s why these GROW students are also provided room and board, allowing them to focus on their studies without having to worry about the additional stress of paying for campus housing.
But these aren’t the only students to potentially benefit from Project Amigo. Another avenue our resources might take is to the high school and middle school. Here, 50 scholarships are awarded to students in need. As part of this scholarship, students are given school supplies, tutoring, life skills, transportation and even a hot meal each day.
Next, we’ll head to the Study Center. Proceeds from GROW bananas are vital for the support and maintenance of this institution. Money is used not only for the facility itself but also to fund its staff. With violence on the rise, a place where students can go to feel safe, learn and better themselves becomes all the more important. Here at the study center, learning and education is the number one priority, but the center also helps with neighborhood programs in order to foster a greater sense of community. The Study Center has two full time employees to help students of all ages, monitor the computer center, and facilitate health and nutrition programs for the community as well.
As we continue our journey, we come to Casa Amiga, a housing facility for university students who may live too far from campus to commute daily. Housing is obviously critical to anyone’s well-being, but the facility isn’t limited merely to that. Students at Casa Amigo receive three meals a day, they have a “house mother” who looks after their well-being, computer and study facilities, and counseling help for those who need it. Here you’ll also see students receiving tutoring assistance to help them advance from academia to be prosperous leaders in their chosen fields in the community.
Our last stop brings us to a local hospital. As vital as education and housing are, health concerns are equally important. This is why Project Amigo helps support medical, dental and psychiatric programs. This support can take many forms. Transportation to and from doctors’ appointments is provided. Milk is distributed. Dental education and treatment are made accessible. There is even medical equipment that is purchased and donated to those in need, and this can often be life changing. Whether it’s wheelchairs, hearing aids or glasses, these items can substantially improve the quality of life for the people who need them.
Consumers now are more knowledgeable than ever. They want food that is natural and healthy. But why can’t our produce be organic, ethical, AND altruistic? We believe that it can and should be. Do your part to support Project Amigo by purchasing GROW bananas and rest comfortably knowing that by purchasing one load of GROW bananas a week, you’ve done a great deal to help a community in Mexico.
Dulce was a GROW scholar who graduated from the University of Colima with a degree in graphic design in 2015. As the fourth of six children, she grew up in poverty. Her father owned a butcher shop and her mother took care of the children. In 2000 Dulce’s father left, forcing her mother to work in a small store to provide for the family. Her mother remarried a field worker in 2010.
Unlike the rest of her family, Dulce went to college and developed a career. Her younger sister is a hair stylist and her other siblings are field workers. Dulce went to work after she graduated in her chosen field, where she learned about advertising, packaging, design companies, suppliers, customers and how to run a company in general. She first ventured into entrepreneurship by opening a design firm with a friend, but the partnership dissolved in eight months.
For a time, Dulce spent her mornings working with a company and her free time working with many of her own clients from home. When she lost the morning job and had a child, she decided to rethink her goals in accordance with motherhood. She returned to her family’s home in the small town of Cerro de Ortega and found an opportunity to start a business. With many contacts, no graphic design or printing competition nearby, and a space to locate her business temporarily, she decided to open a studio and print shop in the center of town.
Dulce is now prospering with a house of her own, a community that supports her, and a store front for her business. Today she has a portfolio of clients from many areas around the state of Colima as well as in Michoacan. She receives more work through referrals from satisfied clients and has strengthened and expanded her business with a loan from GROW.
Dulce is a proud working mother, steadily moving ahead with her goals. She is now confident that with hard work and perseverance, anything can be achieved. Life has surprised her in many ways, but all have made her a stronger person.
You can check out her business here: https://www.facebook.com/ideocrea/
We partnered with The Produce Moms for GROW Month! Keep reading to learn how to caramelize bananas and 5 great ways to enjoy them!
Bananas make a tasty snack at any time of the day or night. And while we love their soft texture and sweet taste as-is, there’s always room for an upgrade! Here’s an easy way to caramelize bananas to use in breakfasts, desserts, and snacks. With help from the minds at Organics Unlimited, we’ve included five delicious ways to use them to get you started!
How to Caramelize Bananas
Like some of our other favorite fruits and veggies, caramelization adds new dimensions to the flavor and richness of bananas. Plain banana slices make a great topping or addition to cereal, oatmeal, crepes, and all kinds of other dishes. But caramelized bananas take those dishes to the next level!
It’s easy to caramelize bananas, but it requires a bit of a delicate touch. You’ll need to cook them at the right heat and with the right ingredients to get the best results. We find that organic bananas like the tasty ones available from Organics Unlimited caramelize better than others. And the best way to cook them is with coconut oil and sugar along with another sweetener, like agave syrup.
● 1 banana, finally sliced
● 1 tsp coconut oil
● 1 tbsp agave syrup or any sweetener syrup you like it
● 1 tsp coconut sugar
- Place a frying pan over medium heat with the coconut oil, agave syrup and coconut sugar.
- Add the banana slices when the mixture is melting and bubbling.
- Cook for a few minutes on each side until the slices are fully coated.
5 Ways to Use Caramelized Bananas
Now that you have a pan full of delectable caramelized bananas, what should you do with them? You could pop them right in your mouth, or you could use one of these five delicious ideas:
On ice cream
Use caramelized bananas to top your ice cream. Capture the flavor of a banana split or float them on a sea of hot fudge. They’ll fit right in with just about any flavor of ice cream! You can even use bananas to make your own ice cream. Check out this Banana Nice Cream Sundae and top it with caramelized bananas!
Waffles were practically made to be topped with bananas. Whether you’re making belgian waffles or just using the easy freezer variety, these melt-in-your-mouth banana slices pair nicely with a little syrup and butter.
Elevate your oatmeal with some fruity sweetness. You can place these bananas on top of the oatmeal or stir them into your bowl. We recommend topping it all with a pinch of cinnamon or brown sugar.
On peanut butter toast
Peanut butter and banana sandwiches make a great snack whenever your sweet tooth strikes. But toasting the bread and caramelizing the bananas turns an everyday bite into a memorable, mouth-watering dish that you and your kids will love.
Brownies are a canvas for creating a great dessert, and these caramelized bananas will turn yours into a masterpiece. No matter what flavor of brownies you’re baking, scoop some caramelized bananas on top for an irresistible treat. Ice cream is optional! What did you think of our caramelized bananas? Do you have a favorite way to use them that we didn’t mention? Let us know in the comments or tag us on Instagram @theproducemoms and @organics.unlimited.