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AUSTIN, Texas -- Whole Foods Market here is the exclusive carrier of bananas from EARTH University, as part of a partnership to support education, entrepreneurship, and sustainable agriculture in the developing world, the chain said.
The bananas are available year-round at stores in California, Arizona, and Nevada, and can also be bought at locations in the North Atlantic, Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Midwest, and Southwest regions. The goal is for Whole Foods to carry the bananas in all of its stores.
All of EARTH University's profits from the Whole Foods deal go to student scholarships, research, and university operations.
"EARTH University has taken a leadership role in the banana industry through its environmentally friendly production methods," said Michael Besancon, Southern Pacific regional president for Whole Foods Market. "After visiting the EARTH University campus at the edge of the Costa Rican rain forest, it was clear the university's mission and curriculum mirrors Whole Foods Market's commitment to demonstrating workable ecological solutions for the world."
Whole Foods said the EARTH bananas have a sweeter taste than conventional bananas. "The EARTH banana has exceptional culinary quality due to the cultural farming practices of the university and the growing conditions of the humid tropics in Costa Rica," said the chain's national v.p. of procurement-perishables, Edmund LaMacchia. "These bananas are very full or round in shape because the fruit is very mature at harvest "Consequently EARTH bananas are creamy and moist in texture, with a rich and complex flavor."
EARTH University said it operates a high-quality, low-impact, and socially responsible banana farm. The university's curriculum teaches creative, economically viable uses for the natural resources of the humid tropics.
Whole Foods Market, America's first national certified organic grocer, operates over 185 stores in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom under such banners as Whole Foods Market, Harry's Farmers Market, and Fresh & Wild. The company employs more than 41,500 team members.