Although pineapple is native to Brazil and Paraguay, it has become a Hawaiian icon.
At one time, it ranked with sugar as the backbone of the Islands’ economy; since its heyday in the 1930s, however, production has dwindled to just two islands — Oahu and Maui, where Maui Gold Pineapple Company grows a variety that has been lauded for its sweetness, low acidity and juicy flesh.
A tour of the 1,500-acre plantation, on the slopes of Haleakala volcano, covers the history of pineapple, cultivation techniques and what’s done to prepare the fruit for shipping.
In the processing area, you might see pineapples being sorted, rinsed, sprayed with a vegetable wax that extends their shelf life and gives them a nice sheen, then packed by size.
Following that, you’ll head to the fields, where experienced workers plant some 7,000 pineapple crowns in a day — all by hand. For many visitors, the highlight of the tour is sampling fruit that the guide picks and slices right there. And everyone receives a luscious Maui Gold pineapple to enjoy later.