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Welcome to Dominique Farms/Bananas Santa Marta

In the tropical paradise in Santa Marta on the Caribbean coast and at the foot of Colombia's largest mountain Sierra Nevada, you will find our organic banana plantations. The area is spread over our three farms: Josefina, Campo Alegre and Granja. Right here is where we grow - what we personally think are - the world's best bananas.

Our bananas are 100% organic and the result of hard and respectful work with nature's own resources – without the use of any artificial pesticides or fertilisers. With a targeted growth effort of over 3,000 trees which are part of the natural flora, along with several other initiatives, we have achieved Rainforest Alliance’s HIGHEST SCORE IN THE WORLD.

Collectively, we call our farms Dominique Farms, and there two registered brands of bananas: Dominique and Santa Marta Bananas. In collaboration with our skilled and professional staff, we work diligently every day to grow the best bananas in paradise. This is with the aim to always provide our customers with a unique quality product that creates value and satisfaction for our clients and consumers.

Our company highly values our employees and care for them. Through the Fairtrade certification we can offer them additional social and economic benefits and opportunities for better housing, health and education.

Our region

Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta which is home to the world's highest coastal mountain range and this is where our plantation is located. The area is just Picture this: Sierra Nevada’s clear meltwater runs through the tropical lowlands in 36 different rivers, ensuring plenty of natural water for our plantations. From an altitude of 5,775 meters at Sierra Nevada, the meltwater brings with it important minerals from the volcanic soils and rich, fertile silt which give our organic orchards natural energy and resilience.
Beautiful snow-capped Sierra Nevada
Santa Marta outside the hurricane belt

In Santa Marta there are over 4 metres of topsoil, which gives the banana plants unique growing conditions. Due to the region's coastal location a special microclimate is created where the combination of hot days and cool nights provides ideal growing conditions and promotes the fructose content in our bananas as well. This makes our bananas grww into a particularly sweet fruit. The combination of the fantastic soil and the special microclimate are the result why our banana plants are particularly resistant to the leaf disease Black Sigatoga.

Unfortunately, excessive winds, destructive storms and hurricanes are well-known problems in many banana-growing areas. But thanks to our unique location at the foot of Sierra Nevada, which is in the shelter of the Andes, we are safely outside the "hurricane belt".

BANANAS SANTA MARTA

Go Bananas Over Good Health
Every Body Benefits!

Be good to yourself! Run, walk, play tennis or volleyball…drink enough water, be mindful about getting enough sleep… and eat bananas!

Every Dominique or Santa Marta banana’s tidy yellow package surrounds a veritable powerhouse of energy, vitamins and minerals. A recent study done by Appalachian State University in the US demonstrated that bananas showed an advantage over sports drinks for people who exercised! The test compared test subjects’ blood levels before and after exercise with one group eating bananas during and after their workout and the other drinking popular sports drinks. The studies showed that both groups enjoyed similar affects, but the banana-eating subjects had a greater shift in dopamine, which is a neurotransmitter that affects mood and body movement. Low dopamine levels are also linked to issues related to obesity.

Bananas are also high in potassium, which helps our bodies maintain healthy blood pressure levels and maintain our muscles. They are also natural diuretics and help to reduce the effects of bloating. And, bananas are high in Vitamin B6, which helps us maintain healthy blood sugar levels and healthy digestion.

And our organic bananas contains no pesticide residues – of course.

The production processes

  • 1 - Planting of banana shoots

    • A little background to the production process: The mother plant reproduces by planting a shoot right beside itself – called Sword Sucker or daughter. This daughter plant is the basis of the banana plant, which will reach its full height of 4-10 meters at the age of only 6-8 months. The plant will bloom and bear fruit that same year.
    Fully-grown plant

    Fully-grown plant

    Daughter plant/Sword sucker

    Daughter plant/Sword sucker

  • 2 - Care of the banana plant

      • Our bananas are cared for, nurtured and attended to every day and for a banana to thrive, it also needs good, healthy soil, full of minerals. Due to the fact that our plantations have been organic for many years, we have achieved unique and very healthy soil that is naturally resistant and gives the plants the right natural minerals.

     

      • Lots of sun and heat are essential for a banana plant to grow. Santa Marta is close to the equator and therefore the plants get very direct, vertical solar radiation, which means that our bananas reach a much bigger size than those grown in the Dominican Republic, just to name an example.

     

      • Finally, bananas need lots of water! As we have mentioned, we have plenty of that in the tropics – sometimes too much! If a banana plant is underwater for too long, it may wilt or die. At Dominique Farms we have preserved the old drainage channels that direct the water away quickly and effectively, so we never have problems with too much water.

     

    • Our experienced workers prune the plants daily to ensure enough light for new daughter plants. The stems are pulled aside by using strings, so there’s enough light for them all.
  • 3 - Flowering

    • The flower of the banana plant is an incredibly beautiful elongated blue-purple flower, often called the bell. As it grows, little bananas appear above it until the entire bunch has emerged. A bunch is made up of a number of tiers of bananas, which are called hands. A hand consists of up to 20 bananas, which are called fingers.

      When the bunch of bananas has fully emerged, the bell is removed to direct all the energy to the fruit. This is just a little insight into the banana plants.

    The beautiful flower “The Bell”

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    A bunch emerging

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    A bunch without the bell, ready for growth

  • 4 - The growth of the bunch

    • The bunch is now wrapped in a breathable plastic bag to protect the bananas from insects and bad weather and to ensure optimal growth. At the same time, the bunch is marked with coloured string, indicating the harvest time. The bunch hangs under the protective bag for about 12-13 weeks while it grows nice and large.
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    Protective bag

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    Colour strip indicates harvest date and tracking

  • 5 - Harvest

    • When the bananas reach the desired size, protective foam pads are inserted between the hands to protect the bananas from possible shock when the entire bunch is cut from the plant. Thereafter, our experienced harvesters gently carry the heavy bunches of bananas on their shoulders down the short path to the conveyor belt.

    • The mother plant is now cut down and is left on the ground, where she is broken down naturally and converted into nutrient-rich compost for the benefit of the next generation of banana plants.
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    Bunches of bananas are carried to the conveyor

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    Transportation for cleaning and packing

  • 6 - Transportation to cleaning and sorting

    • The green bunches are transported via a conveyor belt through the orchard to our farm, where they are made ready for packing. The coloured plastic string indicating harvest time remains on the bunch on arrival at the cleaners, and they are also used as a tracking tool.

    • On arrival at the cleaners, the quality is checked and the hands are cut off the large bunches, after which the hands are washed in large pools. The water in these pools comes from Sierra Nevada meltwater, which we purify at our own purification plant. Therefore, the water is in equal quality to drinking water.

    • Bananas that don’t pass this stage are sold to the local markets, therefore nothing goes to waste.

    • The remaining stalk is deposited at our composting facility, where it is converted into good, mineral-rich soil and returned to the plantation.
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    Bunches arrive for cleaning

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    Banana hands are cut off the stem

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    The bananas are washed in clean water

  • 7 - Packing

    • In the next step, the clean banana hands are checked for quality again before being packed onto trays. These are then weighed, ensuring that the amount on the tray corresponds with the desired content of the retail-ready boxes.

    • The trays of delicious organic bananas now have Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance, organic/bio or possibly our customers' own stickers placed on them.

    • The last step before the bananas are gently packed into boxes is to treat the crown with citric acid, preventing rot. We produce the citric acid ourselves, using local organic lemons.

    • The bananas are now packed into boxes that display important data, ensuring traceability. Same as before, the boxes can be printed with customers’ logos, names and designs.
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    Banana hands are packed onto trays

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    Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance and Organic/Bio labels are attached

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    The crown is treated with organic lemon juice

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    The bananas are packed into boxes

The logistics processes

Quality assurance, traceability and control are absolutely essential for our logistics.
  • Loading into refrigerated trucks on the farm

    • The pallets of our bananas are packed into refrigerated containers and transported with trucks that arrive at our loading ramps.

    • When the refrigerated container is loaded, it is secured with a seal and an electronic temperature control.
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    Fully packed pallet

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    Truck being loaded

  • Transportation to Santa Marta port

    Transportation to Santa Marta port and shipping to faraway destinations.
    • Our bananas are now traveling a short distance to Santa Marta port, where they are shipped to many places, including Europe.
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    Santa Marta Port

  • The ripening processes

    • Upon arrival in Europe, our green bananas are taken to professional ripening houses, where they reach the desired ripeness and colour under close scrutiny and using sensitive technology.
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    Ripening house

  • Transport to retailers

    • From the ripening houses, the last destination for the bananas are the retailers. The best bananas in the world are now sold to consumers who want to enjoy healthy, organic bananas that have been grown with nature, community and our employees in mind.
      Bananas are ready!

Rainforest Alliance

As organic producers, we naturally focus on conservation of natural resources. As Rainforest Alliance-certified farmers, we work diligently to strengthen the natural flora on our land. We have for example planted 3,000 trees from the area's natural vegetation. This is the reason why we now have over 19 different kinds of trees registered on our land.

This effort and the intense focus on biodiversity has significantly increased the wildlife on our farm. We are happy that we now have abundant populations of crocodiles, jaguars, monkeys, marsupials, wolves, dogs, snakes, birds, and a variety of insects and invertebrates (worms, caterpillars, microorganisms etc) around us.

Moreover, in cooperation with the local university, we have been developing our own biodynamic pesticides and fertilisers. All raw materials for these products come from our own organic land, the rainforest in Sierra Nevada, the riverbanks or other natural areas.

The rewards of this effort can be seen in the nature. The fauna and flora are simply becoming healthier and more resilient, and we have witnesses less cases of devastating fungal and insect attacks. Our banana plants are resistant to the fourth generation of Sigatoga as well.

Meet Louis Hesselholt in conversation with CEO in Tyske Real, Patrick Mueller-Sarmiento, about Dominique Farm’s work with the protection of nature.

Fairtrade and CSR

Along with the land, our most important resource is our skilled workforce. Our employees work diligently every day to produce quality products with the greatest possible care for the natural surroundings. We always work actively to improve our employees’ terms and living conditions.

Even before we were Fairtrade-certified, we established the Dominique Foundation with our employees, with the activities still ongoing. It is a great importance to us to connect and provide our employees with a better living standard. All of the fund belongs to the employees and it includes the following activities:

  • The fund is a hundred percent for our employees and it is run by Fairtrade returns.
  • For each box of bananas, we sell, 1 USD goes straight to our employees.
  • The employees plan to build up their own communities with housing, schools, etc.
  • HHK/CICA sponsors architects and building experts
  • We celebrate all birthdays, holidays and festival days with our employees – and cherish these traditions.
  • We run a football tournament for 120 children
  • Every other week, we have Runbaterapia on our plantation – teaching both dance and movement.
  • We run a Saturday school for our employees who want to learn to read and write
  • We host workshops for parents on how to deal with child labour, prostitution, drugs, etc.
  • We host Dia del Nino, a cultural weekend for children monthly. During these weekends, the children can draw, paint, play, and be creative in many different ways.
  • We also have a physical trainer who does gymnastics and exercises with our employees every day
  • We have extensive training programs in hygiene, food safety, first aid, working environments, professional organisation, etc.
  • Our employees democratically elect their representatives for safety and employee representation.
  • We have a training program for the entire local village Varela, where we teach conservation of flora and fauna, recycling and conservation programs for electricity and water from the local population's own households.
  • All of our employees are connected to a comprehensive health program and are offered free health check-ups and treatment by doctors and dentists associated with our program as well.
  • “Pension con Amor” is a pension program for former employees who otherwise would not receive any pension.

Danmark

  • Auktionskaj 1-3
    9970 Strandby
  • +45 24671451
  • Daniel Jesus Aagaard Soto

Colombia

  • Ed.Bahia Centro of 805
    Cra 1a No 22-58
    Santa Marta - Colombia
  • +57 5431 83 83
  • +57 315 355 34 92
  • Louis Hesselholt

Chile

  • Tahiti 6518
    Vitacura
    Santiago
  • +59 9 8502 9313
  • Niels Gaitaud

USA - Seattle

  • HHK A/S Seattle / USA
    2922 Eastlake Ave East
    Seattle, Wa. 98102
  • 206 323 3325
  • Dale Sherrow
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