Today In Cape Cod History – Banana Kings, Lorenzo Baker Of Wellfleet And Donovan Of Nancy’s

baker – In 1870, at age 30, Captain Baker made his first voyage to the tropics with his newly purchased ship, “Telegraph”. His cargo was mining equipment for Venezuela. On his return, he picked up a cargo of bamboo in Jamaica, where he tasted his first banana. He decided to introduce the exotic fruit to northern markets and he included some bunches in his cargo. However, upon arrival in New York City, the bananas were spoiled and could not be sold. Captain Baker was not deterred. The next year, he returned to Jamaica and loaded his ship with unripe (green) bananas. This time the bananas were just ripe enough when he docked in New York to earn a substantial profit.

Captain Baker spent the next 10 years expanding and developing his fruit importing business which became the foundation of the Boston Fruit Co. and made possible the giant conglomerate United Fruit Company (Chiquita brand) that still exists to this day.

No biggie, just another feather in Cape Cod’s cap. Hey America, enjoying that banana? Well you can thank us for it. Like Cape Cod wasn’t already awesome enough, now we find out we invented the banana.

Is it common knowledge that Chiquita Banana was started by a Wellfleet guy? It seems like this is something that should be taught in Cape schools. We should have statues of Lorenzo Baker everywhere, maybe a few public buildings named after him. This guy should be a Cape legend.

At the very least there should be a plaque at Donovan’s Reef at Nancy’s in Oak Bluffs. Getting a Dirty Banana from Donovan is a rite of passage for Cape Codders, it only seems right to pay homage to the Wellfleet man who made it all possible while enjoying Donovan’s magic elixir. After all, Lorenzo Baker may have first brought the banana to Cape Cod, but Donovan perfected it by adding tons of booze and ice and blending it. The two are forever intertwined.

I think The Real Cape staff might have to take a trip to see Donovan early this summer and discuss the situation over a Dirty Banana or twenty. We’ll donate a nice plaque for him to give the people a little Banana King history lesson while they are in line. Don’t ever say The Real Cape doesn’t do wonderful work in the community. Our goal is to inform every Cape Codder about this new found historical significance of getting hammered on Dirty Banana’s at Donovan’s Reef.

P.S. 93% chance Insane Tony will wake up floating around OB harbor naked on an inner tube with a Ritz tattoo on his forehead.


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