The Pineapple Express

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.



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.




  1. says

    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

  2. Eugenie says

    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 arĂ¡ndanos (blueberry)

  3. says

    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!

  4. says

    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.

  5. says

    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…

  6. says

    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. :-\

  7. says

    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.

  8. says

    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.

  9. says

    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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