Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 44.djvu/511

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497
WHERE BANANAS GROW.

thirteen. A bunch of eight hands is a three-quarter bunch, one of seven hands a half bunch, and a six-hand bunch sells for a quarter or a third of the full-bunch price. Bunches below this size are not ordinarily marketable. Since a hand may contain from a dozen to twenty fruits or "fingers" the number in a marketable bunch may vary from six to twenty dozen. The poorer bunches are sometimes reserved for the few schooners still in the

PSM V44 D511 Loading at the wharf at port antonio.jpg

Fig. 4.—Loading at the Wharf, Port Antonio.

trade, chiefly with our Southern ports, while all the best go by steamers.

Originally the entire trade was carried on in sailing vessels, but their slowness and uncertainty have compelled them to give way to the present fleet of stanch and fast steamers, whose regular time of about five days to New York and six to Boston from Jamaica, or half a day less from Baracoa, Cuba's largest fruit port, gives them every advantage in the transportation of perishable freight, in spite of greater running expenses. Most of these steamers, while built especially for the fruit trade, are of the class called tramps, taking short charters wherever they can obtain them, and with no allegiance but to their owners. It is with a twinge of regret that an American sees ship after ship, as she