Pineapple production in Hawaii

July 14th, 2010

Beneath the piles of potatoes, tobacco leaves, bags of corn and cocoa Columbus also took from the New World the unusual oval plant crowned with leaves in the shape of a palm tree. The plant had spiky bark, yellow-green color, like the fish scales or snake skin. At that time the pineapple probably looked really funny to the Europeans.
Pineapple was first recorded in South America, specifically in the area where Paraguay today is and it is still grown there, although new and real home of pineapple are Hawaii which have the largest plantations of pineapple in the world.
Centuries have past since Columbus and pineapple maybe lost some of its exoticism, however, people still don’t know much about buying a good pineapple, its maturity, a special knife for peeling and cutting (pineapple corer) and pineapple recipes.

Many still don’t know does pineapple grows on a tree (a kind of palm tree), is it a bush or it grows from the soil or under it.
Pineapple grows on bushy plants up to 1 meter in height, with a narrow spiky leaves like agaves, which at the center have a flower or a fruit.

The Dole plantation in Hawaii (once the largest pineapple producers in the world) organizes tours for visitors where they will show you how pineapples are manually planted and that it takes about 18 months until the first fruits grow. Planting and harvesting seasons do not exist because the temperature doesn’t varies a lot throughout the seasons. The plantation plants the pineapples on one side and on the other side hand picks the fruits and achieves the perfect organization to meet the needs of the globalized market.
When in the beginning of the 20th century the first large plantations appeared, manpower was mainly from, then very poor, Japan. The workers were carrying, as is the case today, pants and thick rubber gloves so the barbed and hard leaves would not hurt them.
At Dole’s plantation you will also learn how a perfect pineapple should look like. First – it shouldn’t be too soft and second – leeves must be strong and fresh while the colors depends on the species. Pineapple should be consumed as soon as possible because, contrary to popular belief, holding it at room temperature, will not become sweeter and jucier, but it will only soften and fade.

If you find yourself on Hawaii, be sure to visit the Dole plantation and take their Plantation Garden Tour – up-close look at hundreds of plants and trees, including many native species, or take the Pineapple Express – two-mile, 20-minute fully narrated train tour that takes you through the plantation.

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Related websites:

  • The Dole plantation – I used to be addicted to Dole Whip, the famous and tasty pineapple yogurt, at the Dole Plantation…

  • Explore Oahu: Dole Plantation -James “Jim” Dole was born and grew up in Massachusetts, which he left with $1,500 and, in the words of the plaque, “a lot of ambition.” …