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Facts about Pineapple and Hawaii, past and present

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Pineapple and Hawaii Past

Europeans called the pineapple the “Pine of the Indies.”  The word “apple” was added later when it was introduced to the English to associate it with another delicious fruit that people enjoyed.
The pineapple is native to southern Brazil and Paraguay. Native tribes sailing up through South and Central America to the West Indies may have spread its growth before Columbus arrived.
Christopher Columbus is responsible for introducing the pineapple to Europe.  Pineapple was subsequently spread around the world on sailing ships that carried it for protection against scurvy.
Some say a Spaniard brought the first pineapples to the Hawaiian Islands in about 1813. Others think the pineapple didn’t reach Hawaii until 1886, brought from Guyana.
Maui and Pineapple

Maui Pineapple Company is the only producer of Maui-grown pineapples. The company was established in 1909, and is based in Kahului, Maui. It currently cultivates and processes approximately 6,000 acres of two varieties of pineapple: extra-sweet Maui Gold® and Maui Gold Organic pineapple.
Learn Maui's pineapple story on a Maui Pineapple Company plantation tour led by long-time plantation workers. The tour takes you to the fields where the fruit is being harvested. You can even pick a pineapple to take home!

Dole Pineapple

James Dole, known as the Pineapple King, is best recognized for advancing the pineapple industry in Hawaii. In 1900 he purchased 61 acres in Central Oahu and began experimenting with pineapple. In 1901 he incorporated the Hawaiian Pineapple Company and began growing pineapple commercially. In 1907, Dole created a cannery near the Honolulu harbor. This cannery, at one time the world's largest cannery, remained in operation until 1991.

In 1922, James Dole bought the entire island of Lanai, known as the Pineapple Island, and converted it from an island with 150 people into the largest pineapple plantation in the world with 20,000 pineapple plantation acres and over a thousand pineapple workers and their families. Pineapple production on Lanai ended in October 1992.

Pineapple and Hawaii Today

Fresh Del Monte Produce Inc. announced that after 90 years in Hawaii, they will harvest their last crop of pineapple on Oahu in 2008. Pineapple can be produced much cheaper in other parts of the world. This decision will leave about 700 pineapple workers without a job and only two companies which grow pineapple in Hawaii - Dole Food Hawaii and Maui Pineapple Co.

Today, Hawaii's pineapple production does not even rank within the top ten of the world's pineapple producers. Worldwide, the top producers are Thailand (13%), the Philippines (11%) and Brazil (10%). Hawaii produces only about 2 % of the world's pineapple. Fewer than 1,200 workers are now employed by the pineapple industry in Hawaii.

Take one Home

Pineapple is the only fresh produce that you can take back to the continental United States via the airlines from Hawaii.


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More on Pineapples:

Pineapple News
Maui Pineapple Company
Maui Land and Pineapple
Dole Food Company, Hawaii


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