pineapple express
Maui, Hawaii

I arrived just in time to judge the Maui Agricultural Festival but before the event I met the other judges and we went to tour the Maui Gold Pineapple Farm.

 

Is there anything more iconically Hawaiian?

 

The first thing that caught my eye was the pineapple express bus, and I was relieved I wasn’t the only one to pass an immature giggle before we started the tour.

 

pineapples

I learned cute facts like that pineapples are not native but from Brazil, that they were named pineapple because they look like a pine cone and taste like an apple, and that you should never cut the top off but twist it and store it upside down so that the juice from the sweet bottom can resettle throughout the fruit.

And I expected this to be a light breezy tour, but that soon ended when I started thinking about how much we pay for food. I won’t buy a pineapple if it costs more than $3.99 but I had no idea what actually goes into growing one.

 

Turns out a lot.

 

It takes two years to grow the first generation pineapple. It’s only one year for the next but the fruit is much smaller.

 

pineapple plantation

pineapple farm

pineapple field

 

Pineapples are still planted and harvested by hand. Relatively speaking the workers are the mostly highly paid in farming. Most plant 7000 pineapples a day and can make $40/hour.

But this is a young man’s job as most of the day is spent bent over. They only plant three times a week and I’m guessing on the other days they are at the chiropractor. This is not an easy job and I’m sure they pay for it later in life.

 

eating pineapple

We tried different types of pineapple and it was delicious but all I kept thinking about was the manual labour and two years of growth. I will never complain about the price of pineapple again.

 

 

33 Comments

  1. Kaori on the April 16, 2012 remarked #

    This is amazing! And you say you’re not a journalist. Crazy good.

  2. Dean on the April 16, 2012 remarked #

    I’m a huge pineapple fan. I ate a whole one for lunch just the other day ;) Those pineapples in your photos look delicious!
    Dean recently posted..Photo of the week: Cape Byron Lighthouse in Byron Bay, Australia

  3. Carmie on the April 16, 2012 remarked #

    I can’t wait to try home grown pineapple!

  4. Roy Marvelous on the April 16, 2012 remarked #

    $3.99?? Wow, I was paying a buck for pineapples in Phuket….
    Roy Marvelous recently posted..The Truth Behind Living Expenses On Cruise Ships

  5. John of Travel Rinse Repeat on the April 16, 2012 remarked #

    Nice photos! I didn’t realize there even were different types of pineapples. I’m kind of bummed I missed out on this while in Maui.
    John of Travel Rinse Repeat recently posted..Visiting Manila – The Local’s Take with Flip Nomad

  6. Courtney Mroch on the April 16, 2012 remarked #

    WOW! WOW! WOW! Check out those pineapples! I knew many came from Hawaii but I never thought about touring a farm! SO COOL! Your pictures are so fun!
    Courtney Mroch recently posted..Ghosts in Asia: To H(a)unt or Not to Haunt?

  7. Stephanie - The Travel Chica on the April 16, 2012 remarked #

    I felt the same way when I learned about coffee in Central America. But I will still complain about the price of it in Argentina :-)
    Stephanie – The Travel Chica recently posted..Cafayate: Wine, Wine, Wine! (part 1)

  8. Red Hunt on the April 16, 2012 remarked #

    Pineapple is so good….especially pineapple flambee, even better than banana flambee.
    Red Hunt recently posted..Iskender – The Tastiest Meal in Turkey

  9. Jen on the April 16, 2012 remarked #

    Mmmm…pineapple.

  10. Rease on the April 16, 2012 remarked #

    This makes me feel terrible about the 99 cent pineapples at a store here. Where do they come from?!

  11. Kieu ~ GQ trippin on the April 16, 2012 remarked #

    I’ve been to Hawaii twice and never made it to a pineapple farm. (sad face). I had no idea the amount of labor it takes to harvest such a delicious fruit. 2 years is a long time. Very insightful. We’ll be in Hawaii in August for a wedding so hopefully I’ll make it to a farm. :)
    Kieu ~ GQ trippin recently posted..Hawker Food Trippin in Singapore

  12. Andi of My Beautiful Adventures on the April 17, 2012 remarked #

    Looks like intense labor! Great shots!!!

  13. Eugenie on the April 17, 2012 remarked #

    I love your post (can I be honest, I’m glad it’s not about food)

    I think most of us don’t realize how much manual labour is still needed with fruit… In Argentina they told me that they only want women with soft hands to pick the arándanos (blueberry)

  14. Archana on the April 17, 2012 remarked #

    I’m working at a smoothie shop in Oahu at the moment — to make some side money during our RTW trip — and we sell Maui Golds fopr $2! So this post is totally fascinating!

  15. Annie - FootTracker on the April 17, 2012 remarked #

    This reminds me why we should appreciate the people who grows our food XD

  16. Meg | One Love Meg on the April 17, 2012 remarked #

    That looks like such a cool experience. I went to an organic farm in Mexico once and I was in heaven. :)

  17. Jaime on the April 17, 2012 remarked #

    Wow I learn more from this post about PINEAPPPLES than when I went to the DOLE PINEAPPLE plantation in O’ahu a few years ago. It is interesting though to see the rows & rows of pineapples grow. Oh & when they are babies… they are so cute just hanging on there. Love the photos btw.

  18. Jeremy Branham on the April 17, 2012 remarked #

    I used to hate pineapples. Now I love them. However, it’s pretty cool to learn about pineapples. I had no idea they took that long to grow!
    Jeremy Branham recently posted..Part III The personal lives of Scottish Games professional athletes

  19. Amanda on the April 17, 2012 remarked #

    Interesting stuff! I went to a pineapple plantation on Oahu last year, but we didn’t get to learn very much about what actually goes into growing them.

    Love the Pineapple Express bus!
    Amanda recently posted..The Hidden People (Elves) of Iceland

  20. Pete on the April 18, 2012 remarked #

    I was amazed when I found out the stat that it takes 2 years to grow a pineapple. I found this out in Honduras where I was buying them for less than $0.25. I was shocked. I know appreciate the pineapple so much more…
    Pete recently posted..The Ancient Wonder of Ephesus

  21. Jess @UsedYorkCity on the April 18, 2012 remarked #

    Love your photos, and also finding out the origin of how the pineapple was named!

  22. Michi on the April 18, 2012 remarked #

    I love informational tidbits like this! I also really love pineapple. It has to be one of my top favorite fruits. When I was little, I’d eat so much of it that the top of my mouth and my tongue would go raw, and I still wouldn’t stop. Gosh, I haven’t had pineapple now in AGES. You’ve just given me a major craving!
    Michi recently posted..Strolling Through Paris…

    • Ayngelina on the April 18, 2012 remarked #

      Fresh pineapple is so much better than canned too.

  23. Cristina on the April 18, 2012 remarked #

    Wow I had no clue. Makes me appreciate our abundance so much more. Thx for sharing.
    Cristina recently posted..How to Spend 3 Days in Paris

  24. Diana on the April 18, 2012 remarked #

    Had no idea. I buy pineapple year-round (to make this one Vietnamese soup that I grew up on). I’ve been converted – I won’t be complaining about the price of pineapple ever again. :-\

  25. Cathy Sweeney on the April 19, 2012 remarked #

    I never even thought about how pineapples got their name — now I know. I’m actually not a big fan of pineapple, but when I’m in Hawaii I do get the urge to eat them — seems like the right thing to do.

  26. Ceri on the April 20, 2012 remarked #

    Wow, who knew? Same here. I’ll never complain about pineapples again. The same with strawberries after I witnessed what the workers have to go through with those.

    • Ayngelina on the April 21, 2012 remarked #

      My first job was picking strawberries for 25 cents a box, it is truly grueling work.

  27. A Montrealer Abroad on the April 20, 2012 remarked #

    Wow, TWO years? I had no idea!

    • Ayngelina on the April 21, 2012 remarked #

      I know, it blows my mind that pineapples cost less than $10 now.

    • Ayngelina on the April 21, 2012 remarked #

      I know, it now blows my mind that pineapples cost less than $10.

  28. Erica on the April 22, 2012 remarked #

    It is like a chicken bus in HI!

    Jealous of your adventures lady! <3

  29. Leonardo on the May 1, 2012 remarked #

    I thought there was this kind of pineapple bus only in Brazil. There are several of this around here where you can buy 3 pineapples for $5. I thought they were expensive but now I know it takes two years to grow and sell. Crazy!
    Leonardo recently posted..Buenos Aires

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