AMONG THE PERISHABLE
Purcell Carson, director · Hope Hall, cinematographer · Ana Gabrielle Rojas Camacho, associate producer
At the end of every sweltering day across the tropics, as the sun burns its way to the horizon, trucks loaded with banana boxes churn the dust of empty roads. They grind toward narrow ribbons of national highways and turn to the sea. In Costa Rica, their destination is Puerto Limón on the Atlantic coast. In Ecuador, it’s a huge stretch of loading docks near the Pacific. On the island of Dominica, it’s a sleepy wharf lapped by Caribbean waters. Every single night, a hundred million pounds of bananas move through the thick air and take to the seas.
If they reach their destination intact, the bananas will be the most profitable item in the grocery store. If the shipment is delayed—if the fruit is packed incorrectly, or is already too ripe, or if the refrigeration fails—they will be worthless. Bananas are big business.
Among the Perishable is a sweeping essay and an intimate portrait of six families linked by the global trade of this improbable commodity. These men and women are all players—small and large, rich and poor—in the complex world of big agriculture. They are eyewitnesses to the latest chapters in the history of Chiquita, one of the world’s first and most iconic corporations. And they are each struggling, in their own way, to reshape their world.