8.2 C
Byron Shire
August 11, 2022

Singhs: growing bananas in Fowlers Lane since 1974

Latest News

Tweed Council refuse aged care facility Tweed Heads

The proposed aged care facility at Caloola Drive Tweed Heads (DA20/0712) was refused at the Tweed Shire Council meeting last Thursday.

Other News

The Healthy Minds Club are busy as!

The Lennox-based (and fast-expanding) young men's mental health group are continuing to change lives and inspire the wider community with activities across the region.

The North Coast Mud Trail is ten!

Fifteen local pottery studios will soon open their doors and reveal their latest ceramic art creations for the 10th Anniversary North Coast Mud Trail, recently launched at Ignite Studios in Ballina.

Santos garden

I walked into the open gate at the Santos community garden space with my three-year-old and was asked very...

Richmond Tweed Regional Library Mobile Library is on the road

Following the destruction of the previous trailer in this year’s unprecedented floods, a replacement trailer for the Richmond Tweed Regional Mobile Library has arrived – it's been polished and loaded with brand-new books and is on the road.

Bullet Train

A former and unlucky assassin codenamed ‘Ladybug’ is determined to do his job peacefully after one too many gigs...

More wildlife please

When a wallaby loped across the dirt road, my heart leapt. It used to be common to spot wallabies...

Neville & Baljinder Singh

Victoria Cosford

On Saturday mornings Neville Singh gets to sleep in – till 6am. Every other morning he’s up at around 4.30am picking, then packing, the bananas that have been part of the family livelihood for nearly fifty years.

Neville’s father started the Fowlers Lane farm in 1974, growing and selling bananas to Sydney and Brisbane markets. At the time it was also a dairy and pig farm, but in 2008, he tells me, ‘I decided to stay with the bananas.’

Apart from the common yellow Cavendish, he grows Senoritas (tinier even than Ladyfingers), Blue Java (‘like ice cream’), Red Dakkas and plantains. I want to know more about plantains, the larger members of the banana family, that rarely crop up in recipes unless they’re West Indian. Neville tells me they’re a lot starchier and lower in sugar than the standard banana. 

‘They’re more a cooking banana’, he says, mentioning later that he and his wife will cook with them about once a week, with fish or pork most commonly. ‘They’re not as easy to grow as other types’, he says. ‘You need to take more care of them as pests get to them.’ Rarely eaten raw, they’re treated more as a vegetable than a fruit in cooking – baked, roasted, fried – and once the flesh is processed it can be made into a flour then transformed into baked goods like bread and cakes.

Then there’s these red bananas, the Red Dakkas. A bit sweeter and creamier than ordinary bananas; Neville says they are rarer and are also relatively unknown, ‘No one grows them because they’re harder to grow’.

Does he ever get sick of bananas, I ask? ‘Some days’, he replies, ‘I do feel sick of the whole thing. My son is slowly taking over – so maybe another couple of years!’.

You will find Neville Singh and his glorious bounty of bananas every Tuesday at New Brighton Farmers Market from 8–11am and every Friday at Mullum Farmers Market from 7–11am.


Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Evans Head, Iron Gates DA public planning meeting coming

The current development application (DA) for the flood and bushfire-prone site of the Evans Head, Iron Gates development will go before the Northern Rivers Planning Panel (NRPP) on 30 August.

Council acknowledges desire for house relocations, buybacks and land swaps

Last night Lismore Council looked at House Relocations, Land swaps and Buy Backs when Councillor Adam Guise’s moved a motion that “Council acknowledges flood impacted ratepayers' desire for house relocations, buybacks and land swaps."

Bruns underground car park reconsidered 

Byron Council’s decision to approve a controversial mixed-use development in Brunswick Heads that would include the town’s first underground car park could be overturned at this week’s meeting, with a group of councillors moving a rescission motion.

Good news for the Sepik people

The proposed Frieda mine Papua New Guinea with its huge tailings dam, would be built on the Frieda River at the headwaters of the Sepik River – an earthquake-prone area – creating the risk of repeating one of the worst environmental disasters.